TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A proposed expansion of one of Florida’s most controversial laws cleared its first hurdle today in the Senate.
The Parental Rights in Education law, which critics call “Don’t Say Gay,” limits teaching sexual orientation or gender identity in grades kindergarten through third grade. The new bill would expand the restrictions through eighth grade, which the bill’s sponsor defended on Monday.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure that a teacher is not forcing a student to provide a pronoun as a requirement and that a student doesn’t have to call someone by another name that they don’t feel comfortable with,” said State Sen. Clay Yarborough.
Democrats specifically criticized one aspect of the bill that restricts the use of preferred pronouns in the classroom.
“Whether this passes or doesn’t, LGBTQ+ people are going to exist. Your children will have to coexist with those same individuals,” said State Sen. Shevrin Jones.
Both versions of this bill must go through one more committee before reaching chamber floors.