ORLANDO, FLORIDA — Teachers who refuse to comply with legislation prohibiting instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for children in grades K-3 risk losing their license. On Wednesday, the Florida State Board of Education voted to adopt nearly a dozen groundbreaking new rules that help enforce laws protecting parental rights, students’ safety and individual freedoms in public schools.
“Today we joined to uphold the right of parents to raise their children as they best see fit,” State Board of Education Chair Tom Grady said in a press release. “The rules and amendments we approved will support the safety of students and ensure Florida continues to provide high-quality education to every child.”
REQUIRE PARENTAL NOTIFICATION
In addition to the changes related to classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, the board also unanimously voted several other changes. One will require parental notification for any student bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms that are not separated by biological sex at birth. Another seeks to get rid of inappropriate, indoctrinating and pornographic materials in elementary school libraries and classrooms by increasing transparency.
“Parents have a right to be involved in their child’s education and informed regarding what is taking place at their child’s school, and moreover students have a right to come to a safe learning environment every day,” Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. said. “I applaud the State Board of Education for upholding parental rights and continuing to promote the health, safety and welfare of the students in our schools.”
DIRECTED AT TEACHER-ACTIVISTS
Teachers focused on traditional academic initiatives will have nothing to worry about, according to Alex Lanfranconi, Communications Director at the Florida Department of Education.
“It should not be surprising that educators are at risk of having their certificates sanctioned if they violate state law,” Lanfranconi told Education Week in a statement. “The proposed amendment will change nothing for teachers who follow the law and are focused on providing high-quality classroom instruction aligned to state academic standards,” he explained.