Democratic Rep. Maxwell Frost of Florida said Thursday that a parental-rights in education bill, often dubbed by the moniker “Don’t Say Gay,” debated in the House of Representatives would lead to “hate, bigotry and even death.”
“This bill is modeled after one that I know very well, Florida’s parental rights in the education law,” Frost said during the debate on HR 5, the Parents Bill of Rights. “Most know it as ‘don’t say gay.’ And don’t say gay infringes on parents’ right, including LGBTQ+ and supportive parents. Bills like this make schools more hostile. And make no mistake, it results in hate, bigotry and, yes, sometimes death of our students in schools.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other Republican members of the House of Representatives announced the introduction of HR 5, with Republican Rep. Julia Letlow of Louisiana as the lead sponsor, March 1. HR 5 includes provisions requiring “local education agencies” to allow parents to review the curriculum and materials in the library, school budgets, be informed of violent activity and to be made aware if their child is not reading at grade level at the end of third grade in order to receive federal funds.
The contents of school curricula became a hot-button political issue in 2021 as parents protested the use of critical race theory, which holds that America is fundamentally racist, and teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race.
“This bill is just a vehicle for hate and political nonsense, pushing a chosen wedge issue,” Frost claimed. “It’s not about policy. It’s about politics. It’s not about freedom and liberty. It’s about the fear of a problem that doesn’t exist.”
Parents across the country have raised objections to books with sexually explicit content in recent years, prompting some states to act to remove them from schools.
HR 5 also prohibits school systems receiving federal funds from socially transitioning a student without parental consent. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation protecting parental rights similar to HR 5 in Florida in March 2022, which came following a spate of lawsuits across the country centered around clandestine social transitions of children in schools.
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