Despite immense pushback from high school students, LGBTQ+ parents, advocates, and celebrities from Gabrielle Union and Raven Symone, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed HB 1557, titled the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, into law. This is also in conjunction with his “opposition” to Critical Race Theory in schools. As reported by CNN, the law and its regulatory effects will begin in July. Gov. Desantis spoke on why he signed the law.
“We will continue to recognize that in the state of Florida, parents have a fundamental role in the education, health care and well-being of their children. We will not move from that,” DeSantis, a Republican, said during Monday’s bill signing.
CEO and executive director of The Trevor Project, Amit Paley, described how harmful the law is for LGBTQ representation in the classroom and at home.
“LGBTQ youth in Florida deserve better. They deserve to see their history, their families, and themselves reflected in the classroom, said Amit Paley, the group’s CEO and executive director, in a statement. “While I am saddened to see this harmful bill signed into law, I am inspired by the outpouring of support for LGBTQ students we have seen from parents, teachers, celebrities, and their peers. Social support is vital for suicide prevention, and I want to remind LGBTQ youth in Florida and across the country that you are not alone.”
Specifically, the law is stated to “give parents more power in what their children are taught in the classroom.” However, it’s far more overreaching than just that one principle. Florida Department of Education would have to update its standards under the requirements. Parents can also sue a school district if they believe there is a violation of any of these requirements or restrictions.
Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.
If that sounds ambiguous, it is. The law as written doesn’t outline what “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate” means. This is reminiscent of the ‘divisive concepts” bills floating around in states such as Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. Opponents of these measures have pointed out the legislative texts are written in such a broad perspective that Republicans can move the definitions of what subjects are outlawed in school.
HB 1557 also “adopts procedures for notifying a student’s parent if there is a change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being,” This provision could hurt confidentially as students talking to guidance counselors. It also increases the likelihood that kids will be outed without their consent.
The Walt Disney Company released a statement below stating an intention to get the law repealed.