Florida County Bans Rainbows In Classroom After ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Law Takes Effect
On Friday, Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics, officially went into effect.
The law, which was signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) in March, restricts education on sexual orientation on gender identity for children in kindergarten through third grade, with the intention of allowing parents to have control over when that discussion takes place with their kids. Lawmakers who supported the implementation of the bill also made it clear that it would not restrict anyone in the classroom from talking about their own LGBTQ families or questions pertaining to LGBTQ history.
Though supporters of the law have made that distinction, school districts across Florida have begun to roll out restrictions to comply with or elaborate on the bill. The Orange County Classroom Teachers Association accused school officials of verbally telling educators that they will no longer be able to wear rainbow clothing and that photos of same-sex photos in the classroom will no longer be allowed. The district confirmed that a conversation with teachers had been held.
The Leon County School Board approved an “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide” which requires the parents to be alerted if a child who is “open about their gender identity” is in their child’s P.E. class or on an overnight class trip. Parents will then be allowed to request an accommodation if they have religious or privacy concerns for their child.
NEW: LGBTQ teachers in Orange County, Florida are being told to take down photos of their same-sex spouses in their classrooms and not to talk about them to students following the Don’t Say Gay law taking effect. All rainbow articles of clothing are being banned, per @wftv.
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) June 29, 2022
“We talked about this from the beginning,” State Rep. Carlos Smith (D) said. “What’s happening right now — with the censorship of rainbow flags and school districts preparing to basically push LGBTQ students and teachers into the closet — is exactly what we said would happen with the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.”
Other critics have voiced similar concerns that the language is too broad and school districts will interpret it to the extremes.