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Democrats claim Florida is pushing ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. Here’s what the legislation actually says

Florida Republicans on Tuesday passed a parental rights bill that progressives have claimed is anti-LGBTQ. 

But absent from much of the discussion around the bill are the actual contents of the proposed legislation.

The bill, officially named Parental Rights in Education, bans school employees or third parties from giving classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.

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The bill, which passed the state Senate Tuesday after passing the House last month, has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by Democrats who falsely claim it bans any discussion pertaining to being gay in the state’s schools. 

President Biden called it a “hateful bill” in a tweet last month.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign the bill, lambasted a WFLA reporter on Monday for saying the “Don’t Say Gay” misnomer during a press conference.

“Does it say that in the bill?” DeSantis asked, adding that “it’s why people don’t trust people like you because you peddle false narratives.”

“And we’re going to make sure that parents are able to send their kid to kindergarten without having some of this stuff injected into their school curriculum,” the governor said. 

DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw similarly fired back at an Associated Press reporter on Tuesday.

“What’s the bill’s real name, @ZekeJMiller?” she asked. “Does it mention the word ‘gay’ or LGBT people at all? Are AP reporters expected to read legislation before writing about it?”

Fox News Digital did read the Parental Rights in Education bill, and here’s what it says:

What the bill does

It does require school districts to adopt procedures that “reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children in a specified manner.”

It does prohibit classroom instruction, not casual discussion, on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” with children in third grade or younger, “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

It does require school districts to notify 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 and the school’s ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for the student.”

It does prohibit schools from “encouraging a student to withhold” such information from a parent.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks about the firefighting effort and available assistance for Bay County during a press conference in Panama City on March 6, 2022.

It does require school districts to notify parents of each healthcare service offered at their student’s school and the option to withhold consent or decline any specific service.

It does require that parents be allowed to access their child’s educational or health records kept by the school.

It does require the school to get parental permission before administering a well-being questionnaire or health screening to students in kindergarten through third grade.

It does require schools to respond to a parent’s concerns within seven days of being notified of those concerns, and the school must resolve those concerns within 30 days. If the issue is not resolved, parents can then sue the school district or request the state Commissioner of Education to appoint a special magistrate to mediate a solution, which the school district must pay for.

What the bill does not:

It does not ban the word “gay” in school settings.

It does not ban casual discussions of topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom.

It does not require schools to notify parents if their child comes out as gay or transgender.

It does not require schools to notify parents of information regarding the student’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being “if a reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect.”

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