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Florida teachers can talk about sexual orientation and gender identity under ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law

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Don't Say Gay law (PHOTO: Shutterstock)
  • Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay,’ law settlement.
  • Teachers are allowed to talk about some gay issues.
  • Civil rights attorneys challenged the bill.

Students and teachers can discuss sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida classrooms, as long as it is not part of instruction.

This follows a settlement on the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law reached on Monday between state education officials and civil rights lawyers.

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The agreement clarifies what is allowed in Florida classrooms following the passage of the law two years ago.

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‘Don’t Say Gay’ law settlement

Opponents said the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law had created confusion about whether teachers could openly identify as LGBTQ+.

Other states used this law as a template to pass bans on classroom instruction about gender identity or sexual orientation.

Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and North Carolina are among these states.

According to the agreement, the Florida Board of Education will send instructions to each school district stating that this law does not prohibit discussion of LGBTQ+ individuals.

The settlement says the law is neutral

LGBTQ+, heterosexual, agreement, neutral, MundoNOW
PHOTO: Shutterstock

According to The Associated Press, the agreement also clarifies that the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law is neutral.

This means it applies to both LGBTQ+ individuals and heterosexual individuals.

Furthermore, it does not apply to library books that are not used for classroom instruction.

The law also does not apply to books with incidental references to LGBTQ+ characters or same-sex couples.

What does this settlement mean in the classroom?

Don't Say Gay Law, USA, United States, Roberta Kaplan, MundoNOW

PHOTO: Shutterstock

According to Roberta Kaplan, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, this should not be a «controversial» matter.

«What this settlement does, is, it re-establishes the fundamental principal… twhich is every kid in this country is entitled to an education at a public school where they feel safe,» she stated.

She also stressed that their families and parents should feel welcomed.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ office described this agreement as a «great victory.»

The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law is controversial

Ryan Newman, attorney, Florida, Parental Rights in Education Law, MundoNOW
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Ryan Newman, attorney for the state of Florida, assured that they fought to prevent the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law from being maligned in court.

«We fought hard to ensure this law couldn’t be maligned in court, as it was in the public arena by the media and large corporate actors,» Newman pointed out.

Before concluding, he commented that Florida classrooms will continue to be a safe place under the Parental Rights in Education Act.

The Republican governor has defended the law since before its approval in 2022 by Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature.

Republicans say it’s the parents’ responsibility

Legislators, Republicans, children, parents, MundoNOW
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Republican lawmakers argued that parents should address these issues with their children.

According to The Associated Press, the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law was intended to protect children from learning about inappropriate material.

However, opponents said it created a chilling effect in classrooms.

Some teachers said they were unsure if they could mention or show a photo of their same-sex partner in the classroom.

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