In the vein of efforts taken by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, several states across the country are making moves to restrict gender identity lessons in schools.
In March, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Parental Rights In Education” Act, deemed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics, into law, prohibiting discussions on gender identity and sexual orientation in K-3 classrooms. Legislation similar to DeSantis’ is progressing through the state governments of North Carolina, Iowa and Texas in an effort to prohibit elementary school lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity. (RELATED: Wisconsin School District Puts Students Through A Weeklong Gender Identity Lesson Created By LGBT Activists)
“Florida is setting the example of how to combat age inappropriate content in the classrooms,” Laura Zorc, executive director of Building Education for Students Together, a group focused on parental rights in education, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Yes, I do think it is good policy for other states to follow because many school boards are too weak or outnumbered to go against the political current to do what is in the best interest of the students. Besides, these school employees have no right to strip our children of their innocence by teaching lesson plans that sexualize our children.”
In North Carolina, the Senate Education Committee approved the Parents’ Bill of Rights Wednesday which would bar lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from K-4 classrooms. The bill would require reading materials to be available for parental review and mandate that schools notify parents if a student wishes to change their gender identity.
“We need to let children be children and not expect them to cope with adult topics,” North Carolina state Sen. Amy Galey, co-sponsor of the bill, told the DCNF. “Little children attend school to learn reading and arithmetic not to wrestle with gender theories. If they have questions about those topics, they can ask their parents. Teachers should not push a particular worldview or political point, especially on our most impressionable students.”
In Iowa, a state Senate panel recommended passage of a bill on Tuesday prohibiting teachers from giving lessons “relating to gender identity” for kindergarten through eighth grade students in public and charter school classrooms.
“The opposition will try to portray us as being anti-LGBTQ, but that simply is not true,” Pam Gronau, an Iowa parent, told Iowa Public Radio in reference to the bill. “I just want to be able to discuss these matters at home with my children in the way that I see fit, as it is my God-given right to do.”
Introduced on Tuesday, a Texas bill would bar the instruction of sexual orientation or gender identity in K-8 public schools and prohibit educators from distributing “health-related questionnaires” without parental permission. The bills are expected to gain Republican support to pass, according to the Texas Tribune.
“This divisive and dehumanizing roster of bills has the government interfering into our most personal decisions and seeks to ban any honest conversations about race, gender identity and sexual orientation,” Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas, an LGBTQ organization, told the Texas Tribune.
In October, the Florida Board of Education approved new rules that require public schools to provide bathrooms and locker rooms on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity; the Arkansas House sent a similar piece of legislation to the Senate on Wednesday.
“As I campaigned this last year, I promised that I would do what I could to make sure all of our students are safe and comfortable in their bathrooms at school,” Arkansas Republican Rep. Mary Bentley, a sponsor of the bill, told the DCNF. “This common sense legislation will require that girls use the girls‘ bathroom and that boys use the boys’ bathroom based on their sex at birth.”
DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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