TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Today, the State Board of Education approved a new rule that prohibits teachers in grades K-12 from “intentionally” teaching students about gender identity or sexual orientation. Teachers who violate the rule would be suspended and could have their licenses revoked.
“Educators in Florida are expected to teach to the state academic standards. The topics of gender identity and sexual orientation have no place in the classroom, unless required by law,” Florida Department of Education spokesman Alex Lanfranconi tells The Florida Standard. “Today’s State Board action reaffirms Florida’s commitment to uphold parental rights and keep indoctrination out of our schools.”
The new rule goes further than Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law and beyond what Republicans have proposed in the current legislative session. Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said the rule will “provide clarity” to teachers on what they can and cannot teach in the classroom.
Since the law was passed, many school districts have reevaluated policies and issued new guidance to teachers. Pasco County schools banned “safe space” stickers aimed at LGBTQ students and Miami-Dade county removed “Pride” flags.
Joe Saunders, the senior Equality Florida’s political director asked the board during public comment if 11th graders would be permitted to learn about the U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage in class. Diaz said teachers would be allowed to cover that in a civics class but said “talking about Supreme Court cases and taking that and then going into something else that is subjective and trying to expand on that” would not be allowed.
“There is no reason for instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity to be part of K-12 public education. Full stop,” said DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin.
The rule will take effect in 34 days at the earliest, giving schools and teachers some time to prepare for the changes.