White House slams Florida parental rights bill as it takes effect: ‘It’s discrimination’


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The White House slammed Florida’s parental rights bill when it took effect Friday, calling the measure “discriminatory” and part of a “worrying and dangerous” trend across the country of Republican politicians “cynically targeting LGBTQI+ people” to “score political points”.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill in March that would ban teachers from giving classroom lessons on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre criticized the measure when it took effect on Friday, saying some of “Florida’s most vulnerable students and families are more fearful and less free.”

“As the state’s shameful ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law goes into effect, state officials who claim to champion freedom are limiting the freedom of their fellow Americans to simply be themselves,” he said. she stated. “Already there have been reports of ‘Safe Space’ stickers being removed from classrooms. Teachers are being instructed not to wear rainbow clothes. Those on my own desk.”

Jean-Pierre said it was “not a matter of ‘parental rights'”.

U.S. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
(REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

“It’s discrimination, plain and simple,” she said. “This is part of a disturbing and dangerous national trend of right-wing politicians cynically targeting students, educators and LGBTQI+ individuals to score political points.”

Jean-Pierre also said the measure “encourages bullying and threatens the mental health, physical safety and well-being of students.”

“It censors dedicated teachers and educators who want to do the right thing and support their students,” she said. “And it has to stop.”

Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden had “been very clear that every student deserves to feel safe and welcome in the classroom.”

U.S. Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S., February 24, 2022.

U.S. Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S., February 24, 2022.
(Reuters)

She announced that the Department of Education planned to monitor the law and said “any student or parent who thinks they are being discriminated against is encouraged to file a complaint with the Department’s Office for Civil Rights.”

“Our administration will continue to fight for the dignity and opportunity of every student and family, in Florida and across the country,” she said.

The original bill has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by Democrats who falsely claim it bans all discussion of homosexuality in schools across the state.

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 26: Revelers celebrate on 7th Avenue during the Tampa Pride Parade in the Ybor City neighborhood on March 26, 2022 in Tampa, Florida.  (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

TAMPA, FL – MARCH 26: Revelers celebrate on 7th Avenue during the Tampa Pride Parade in the Ybor City neighborhood on March 26, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
(Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

The law prohibits classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” with children in grade three or younger, “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or age-appropriate.” development of students in accordance with state standards”.

The law does not prohibit the word “gay” in schools, nor does it prohibit informal discussions of topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom, nor does it require schools inform parents if their child comes out as gay or transgender.

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

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The law requires school districts to adopt procedures that “enforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the education and control of their children in a specified manner” and prohibit classroom instruction, not discussion informal, on “sexual orientation” and “gender”. identity” with children in third grade or younger, “or in a manner that is not appropriate for the age or development of the students in accordance with state standards.”

Members and supporters of the LGBTQ community attend the "Say gay anyway" rally in Miami Beach, Florida on March 13, 2022.

Members and supporters of the LGBTQ community attend the “Say Gay Anyway” rally in Miami Beach, Florida on March 13, 2022.
(CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

The law also requires school districts to notify a student’s parent if there is a change “in the student’s services or supervision related to the mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being of the student. student and the school’s ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment” and prohibits schools from “encouraging a student not to disclose” such information to a parent.

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The law also requires school districts to notify parents of each health care service offered at their student’s school and the ability to withhold consent or opt out of any specific service, require parents to be permitted access to their child’s school or medical records kept by the school, and require the school to obtain parental permission before administering a wellness questionnaire or health screening to students in kindergarten through grade three.

The law also requires 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 problem is not resolved, parents can then sue the school district or ask the state commissioner of education to appoint a special magistrate to negotiate a solution, which the school district must pay for.


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