TALLAHASSEE — By signing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Gov. DeSantis has put a political agenda ahead of what’s best for our students.
“Parents are central to their children’s education, and that was true long before the governor signed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ into law,” said Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar. “Parents, teachers, school staff and administrators are part of the same team. We all want to make sure each student gets the education they deserve and need, regardless of that child’s race, background, ZIP code or ability.”
HB 1557 unnecessarily attempts to give parents what they already have — rights involving their children’s education. It also unnecessarily attempts to prohibit what is not taught — namely curriculum regarding sexuality in elementary classrooms. However, HB 1557 will chill conversations regarding issues related to students who are part of or associated with the LGBTQ+ community, such as children with two parents of the same gender. The new law will mean that some of our students will no longer feel safe and secure, or even seen.
HB 1557 also will undoubtably spur lawsuits. “Don’t Say Gay” introduces a cause of action by which any parent could sue a school district if they believe the district “encouraged” inappropriate classroom discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity, regardless of the grade level where the discussion occurred.
“This law is a political stunt meant to divert attention from the real needs of our students,” said President Spar. “Our kids need teachers and staff. Florida has a huge shortage of both. The governor and lawmakers should be focused on how to retain and recruit more educators for our public schools.”
There are currently more than 4,000 teacher vacancies and 5,000 support staff vacancies statewide.
CONTACT: Joni Branch, firstname.lastname@example.org, (850) 201-3223
The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest association of professional employees, with 150,000 members. FEA represents PreK-12 teachers, higher education faculty, educational staff professionals, students at our colleges and universities preparing to become teachers and retired education employees.