Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), decried legislation like Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, arguing the law was “the way in which wars start.”
“This notion – we’ve been very lucky in America, and we in some ways live in a bubble for a long time,” Weingarten said in an April 13 appearance on the “Rick Smith Show.” “This is propaganda. This is misinformation. This is the way in which wars start. This is the way in which hatred starts.” (RELATED: Largest State Library Association To Host Drag Queens At Annual Conference)
On March 28, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill into law, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The law prohibits discussions on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade “or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
Ten other Republican-led states have proposed similar legislation that would put limits on how schools teach gender and sexuality-related lessons, restrict books with sexual themes and require sex education instruction to focus on biological sex over gender identity.
Weingarten and the AFT have been vocal critics of the Florida legislation, arguing it “single[s] out certain kids and families for derision and denigration.” Opponents of the law have falsely claimed it bans the word “gay” from the state’s public schools, framing it as an attack on the LGBTQ community.
“Make no mistake, this bill will have devastating real-world consequences—especially for LGBTQIA+ youth who already experience higher rates of bullying and suicide,” Weingarten previously stated in a press release. “And for teachers and school staff who work tirelessly to support and care for their students, this bill is just another gross political attack on their professionalism.”
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