Bill passes in Florida that prohibits classroom discussion about sexual identity

The+dont+say+gay+bill+has+caused+a+lot+of+mixed+emotions.+This+bill+prohibits+classroom+discussion+about+sexual+orientation+or+gender+identity.+The+bill+will+be+put+in+place+for+discussions+about+this+topic+in+grades+kindergarten+through+third.+

Lily Bourgeois

The dont say gay bill has caused a lot of mixed emotions. This bill prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill will be put in place for discussions about this topic in grades kindergarten through third.

Lily Bourgeois , Dispatch Reporter

Chants fill the halls, students flood out of school, flags flying in the air and signs in every student’s hand beaming with colorful bold letters. The state of Florida made waves across the United states on Tuesday March 8th when the Florida senate passed “the parental rights education bill” or as opponents call it “the don’t say gay bill”. 

The don’t say gay bill has caused a lot of mixed emotions. This bill prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill will be put in place for discussions about this topic in grades kindergarten through third. 

“I don’t think the bill is right because I think you should be able to express yourself and show off your own personality and your own sexuality, when you are in school,” Julianna Dankert said. “School should be a safe place.” 

All over the state of Florida there have been walkouts and protests of the bill. Most of the protests have been taking place in Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee while some other cities decided to not take part in the protests. These protests have grabbed the attention of famous Actors and actresses as well as Joe Biden in the white house. 

“I think walkouts can make a difference if you make it go towards something,” Dankert said. “Just walking out might not do anything but planning to have your school represent each other and go maybe to court, it can be something if you make it something but walking out might not be put to use.”

Many Florida senate members are in disagreement of the don’t say gay bill including first openly gay state senator Shervin Jones who spoke out against the bill. Jones urged the bill to say that instruction should not intend to change a students sexual orientation or identity. Pete Buttigeg and his husband Chasten Buttigeg also spoke out against the bill saying it will lead to higher suicide rates amoung LQBTQ+ youth. 

“I think it will greatly impact sexual education for queer kids and bring them shame for feeling something completely normal.” Bella Barkkume said. 

It has been said the bill has been put in place so parents will have control of their children’s education while opponents of the bill have said it’s a direct attack on the LQBTQ+ community. The bill directly says “parents your right to raise your children does not end when they walk into a classroom.” 

“If it is left up to the parents to teach their kids about those things, it isn’t very reliable,” Tess Nielsen said. “Many parents either aren’t present, or don’t accept the LGBTQ. With this said, sexual orientation and gender identification will not be taught in homes.

The don’t say gay bill not only affects the students but also the teachers. This bill allows parents to sue schools or teachers that engage in discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity. 

“I think long term, kids who can’t talk about this in their classrooms will find it as a taboo thing to talk about ever, even in the future,” Nielsen said. “So it will only contribute to more bullying and more shame to the LGBTQ community.” 

On Monday March 28th Ron Desantis officially signed off on the don’t say gay bill. DeSantis said during the press conference of signing the bill “teaching kindergarten aged kids they can be whatever they want to be was inappropriate.” The law will start taking place on July 1st. 

“I think this will affect LQBTQ+ youth because it will make them feel unsafe,” Dankert said. “Usually some of the members feel unsafe in their own home so going to school should be a safe place for them but this bill will make them uncomfortable and everywhere they should feel safe.”