Florida may expand ban against teaching about gender identity, sexual orientation

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A proposed Florida State Board of Education rule would expand a ban against teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.

The proposed rule amendment states that Sunshine State educators should not intentionally teach about those topics in prekindergarten through third grade and should not teach students about those issues in fourth through 12th grade “unless such instruction is either expressly required by state academic standards … or is part of a reproductive health course or health lesson for which a student’s parent has the option to have his or her student not attend.”

A state law passed in 2022 prohibits teaching about such material in kindergarten through third grade, and this year, state lawmakers are considering a proposal to expand that ban to include prekindergarten through eighth grade.

“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards,” the current law states.

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Similarly, the rule amendment proposal goes further than an amendment the state board of education approved last year prohibiting the teaching of the topic in kindergarten through third grade.

The vote will occur April 19, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who won re-election last year during the state’s 2022 gubernatorial election but has not announced a 2024 presidential bid, has said he believes he could defeat President Joe Biden.

If the governor chooses to run for president, he would be challenging former President Donald Trump during the GOP primary. Trump has referred to DeSantis as “an average Governor” and declared, “We don’t want Ron as our President!”

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