TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed a crowd of supporters for the first time Friday since announcing his presidential run on Twitter.
The governor touched on a wide range of education-related topics during his nearly 30-minute speech at an Orlando homeschool convention, including Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Parental Rights in Education, and gender ideology. The governor strengthened his grip on classroom education during the last legislative session, signing several bills into law eliminating funding and support for controversial topics.
“Our school systems should be about educating kids, not indoctrinating kids,” DeSantis said to the cheering crowd. “That means we’ve gone on the offense on toxic ideologies like critical race theory – we have eliminated that in our K-12 schools. We are not teaching kids to hate our country or hate each other with your tax dollars.”
On the topic of gender ideology, DeSantis said, “It is wrong for a teacher to tell a second-grader that they may have been born in the wrong body or that their gender is a choice. Gender ideology has no place in our education system and we’ve made sure that it doesn’t have a place in Florida.”
Transitioning to his ongoing battle with Disney, the governor, and now Republican presidential hopeful said, “We stand for parents’ rights in education, elimination of gender ideology because it’s the right thing to do, and if that means we have to stand up to a major company like Disney, well, here I stand.”
DeSantis doubled down on his commitment to fight the media giant saying he is “not backing down.”
“We run the state of Florida. They do not run the state of Florida.”
“It’s sad that we even have to be discussing some of these things, but we have a responsibility to protect our youth from ideology run amuck, including ideology in the medical profession,” DeSantis added. “So to that end in the state of Florida, we have banned gender surgeries for minors in the State of Florida. That is mutilation and it is wrong. If you do it you’re losing your medical license and you’re going to jail.”
On Thursday, the governor announced plans for a three-state blitz next week featuring at least a dozen stops. He’s scheduled to campaign Tuesday and Wednesday in Iowa before a trip to New Hampshire on Thursday and South Carolina on Friday.