JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Duval County School Board will vote on whether it supports the “Parental Rights in Education” law — which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law. It bans conversations about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
In addition to saying the board “unequivocally supports” the Parental Rights in Education law, the resolution also says the board is considering a key change to its LGBTQ+ “Support Guide.”
The guide isn’t currently available on the district’s website. News4JAX is reaching out to the school district to find out why, but versions of it have been posted in Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Specifically, the board will vote on whether to remove the phrase, “It is never appropriate to divulge the sexual orientation of a student to a parent.”
It would also change the language that currently instructs school personnel — without any parental involvement — to have children decide on the bathroom of their choice as well as shower and other accommodations.
That would fall in line with the language included in the Parental Rights in Education law, which states schools must notify parents if there is a change to services for a student or if a school imposes any additional monitoring for their “mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.”
It also targets local school policies that could keep parents in the dark about information regarding their children’s sexual orientation.
The heart of the new law prohibits primary public schools in Florida from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity to children in kindergarten through third grade.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and supporters have repeatedly said the measure is reasonable, and that parents — not teachers — should be broaching the subjects of sexual orientation and gender identity with their children.
Critics argue it marginalizes LGBTQ+ people.
The President of the American Psychological Association condemned the law saying,
A recent survey was conducted in 2019 showing studies support this.
The CDC’s High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey found 58% of gay, lesbian or bisexual students in Florida felt sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two or more weeks in a row, 36% seriously considered attempting suicide and 20% attempted it.
That’s compared to 29% of heterosexual students who say they regularly felt sad, 11% who seriously considered attempting suicide and 5% who did attempt.
The Florida Department of Education dropped out of participating in the survey last month. It has not said why.
Mental health advocates have called the move to withdraw “an incredibly dangerous precedent.”
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