- Florida’s Education Department approved a rule on Wednesday that expands Ron DeSantis’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law
- It now prohibits the teaching of gender identity and sexual orientation in all public school grades
- Although not a presidential candidate – yet – DeSantis is visiting the early primary state of South Carolina.
PUBLISHED: 12:45 EDT, 19 April 2023 | UPDATED: 13:53 EDT, 19 April 2023
Educators in all Florida public schools for all grave levels will now be banned from teaching students about gender identity and sexual orientation in a sweeping move announced by Ron DeSantis’s board of education on Wednesday.
The move marks a huge expansion of the The Parental Rights in Education law – also dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by critics – which was signed last year by the governor and sparked a firestorm across the country. Critics of the policy claim it could harm children who identify as gay and transgender.
While the previous version of the law prohibited instruction of these topics to children ages 5 through 8, and the expansion would now apply to students up to the age of 18.
The new rule – which will now apply to grades four to 12 in the state after previously capping at 3rd grade – comes as DeSantis is touring the early primary contest state of South Carolina, where he railed against ‘ woke ‘ issues like transgenderism.
Republican voters, meanwhile, are still waiting for him to announce his highly anticipated run for President as he ramps up his war with Disney and while Donald Trump keeps up his attacks.
A Trump super PAC released an ad last week calling DeSantis ‘pudding fingers‘ – referencing claims he ate chocolate pudding with his hands on a flight – and criticized his past calls to cut Social Security and Medicare.
‘It is wrong for a teacher to tell a student that they may have been born in the wrong body or that their gender is a choice,’ DeSantis said during his remarks in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday morning.
‘So we don’t let that happen in Florida,’ he lauded. ‘Disney objects to that, well so be it, we’re going to do that.’
Disney’s CEO-at-the-time came out against the Parental Rights in Education after DeSantis signed the law, sparking a now year-long war between the corporation and Florida’s governor.
The DeSantis administration put forward the proposal last month to expand the law as part of his agenda aiming to make Florida the ‘Citadel of Freedom’ where ‘woke goes to die.’
DeSantis has not commented on the proposal.
‘If you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat,’ he said at his event in South Carolina on Wednesday in reference to pushing through several Republican-agenda laws in his time as governor.
The governor previously directed questions about the law to Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., who said the new rule was meant to clarify confusion around the existing law and reinforce that teachers should not deviate from existing curriculums.
‘We’re not removing anything here,’ Diaz Jr. said on Wednesday. ‘All we are doing is we are setting the expectations so our teachers are clear: that they are to teach to the standards.’