White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre attacked the “dystopian” extension of the Florida Parental Rights bill to all K-12 students at Thursday’s briefing.
The Florida Department of Education (DOE) approved a proposal Wednesday to extend the state’s current law, which prohibits classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity through third grade, to all grade levels. The press secretary condemned the extension as an attack on LGBTQ teachers and students.
“I’d like to say a word about the decision yesterday made by the Florida Board of Education to expand the state’s dystopian ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law,” Jean-Pierre said at the beginning of the briefing. “As this measure takes effect, it will prohibit all students up to seniors in high school from learning about or discussing LGBTQI+ people in the classrooms. Teachers in Florida have already faced the devastating consequences of the existing law. Under threat of having their licenses revoked, gay teachers have been forced to take down pictures of their spouses from their desks and censor classroom materials.”
“Censoring our classes is not how public education is supposed to work in a free country,” she continued. “Conservative politicians love to complain about the so-called cancel culture, all while threatening teachers to lose their jobs if they teach something that the MAGA extremists don’t agree with. President Biden believe teachers and students should not be pawns in a political game or a political stunt. We will continue to fight for students across the country to receive a world class education, including free from discrimination and also censorship.”
The DOE introduced the law’s extension in March, and will go into effect in 34 days as it does not require legislative approval. Teachers who violate the law are at risk of having their licenses suspended or revoked. (RELATED: Sen. Rubio Calls Out Disney For Condemning Florida’s Parental Rights Bill)
Jean-Pierre condemned the proposal at a March 22 briefing, calling the proposed law “utterly wrong” and claimed it is part of a “disturbing and dangerous trend” to attack LGBTQ people.
“It’s wrong. It’s completely, utterly wrong and we’ve been very crystal clear about that, when it comes to the Don’t Say Gay bill and other actions that this governor has taken in the state of Florida,” Jean-Pierre previously said. “But make no mistake, this is part of a disturbing and dangerous trend that we’re seeing across the country of legislations that are anti-LGBTQI+, anti-trans and anti-the community in a way that we have not seen in some time. And it’s not just the LGBTQI+ community, we’re talking about students, we’re talking about educators, we’re talking about just individuals.”
Some Republicans, including presidential candidate Nikki Haley, have argued that the current parental rights law in Florida does not go far enough and should be extended to older students.
Opponents of the law consistently referred to the law as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, though it does not contain any provision banning the word “gay.”