Florida “Don’t Say Gay” law expanded to ban discussion of sexual orientation, gender identity in K-12 public schools

Grae Barron, Reporter

The Florida Board of Education approved the expansion of what is widely known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law on Wednesday, banning discussion of gender identity in all K-12 public schools in the state.

Gov. Ron DeSantis requested the expansion last month after a year of the law being enforced in kindergarten through third grade. This law banned the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity from classrooms and has now expanded to include grades 4-12 as well.

The only exception to the total ban will be if the discussion is part of instruction on reproductive health or if it is required by existing state standards. Students are also given the option to opt out of reproductive health classes.

FILE – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis answers questions from the media in the Florida Cabinet following his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears, File)

During the meeting, Paul Burns, the Florida Chancellor for K-12 Public Schools, said that even health classes are unlikely to be mentioning sexual orientation and gender identity. 

“Abstinence is the required expectation of what we teach in our schools,” he said. 

The board voted this morning to pass the expansion and does not require legislative approval. Teachers who do not comply with this ban could see their teaching license revoked or suspended with the rule change. 

This change is separate from the proposed HB 1069, which would further elaborate on the bans of such discussions through eighth grade.


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