Education commissioner says barring most instruction on LGBTQ+ topics in all grades brings 'clarity'
The Florida Department of Education is proposing a new rule to silence most public school teachers through grade 12 on the topics of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said the proposed rule — under Rule No. 6A-10.081 — avoids confusion and provides "clarity for teachers" and it means they're "sticking to the standards" all the way through high school.
It makes an exception only when it's a class on reproductive health or an optional health lesson or if state academic standards explicity require the instruction.
"[T]hese standards don't incorporate gender ideology or any of these theories in math, social studies, reading or anything else," Diaz said during a press conference Thursday with the governor.
In opposition, the Orange County teachers union — the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association — said on Facebook that the LGBTQ+ community is being attacked through unnecessary culture wars and that "our teachers aren't indoctrinators. They are heroes."
The proposed rule goes before the State Board of Education on April 19.
The Republican-majority Legislature banned instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity through the third grade last year. That controversial law, known to critics as the Don't Say Gay bill, also restricts later instruction to what is "age appropriate."
A Republican bill under consideration this year would extend the ban through the eighth grade and apply it to charter schools and private pre-K programs, as well.
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