Bans on pronouns? Sex education? What to know about possible changes to K-12 education
Miami Herald | By Grethel Aguila | March 14, 2023
Florida teachers may soon grapple with more restrictions related to sex and gender education after lawmakers filed a bill last week that would impose greater control over curriculum.
The Senate bill would bar educators and school staff from referring to students using pronouns that don’t “correspond to his or her sex.” It would also allow the state to exert more control over sexual education instructional materials and expand a ban on teaching about gender and sexual orientation through middle school.
Though the proposal hasn’t been heard in committee, it could set statewide standards for what kind of language is permitted in classrooms. Here’s what to know about the bill.
THE PROPOSED LAW: AT A GLANCE
▪ Every public K-12 school in Florida must define sex as “an immutable biological trait” and state “that it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex”
▪ School staff, contractors and students may not be forced to use someone’s preferred pronouns
▪ Employees may not tell students their pronouns if they don’t correspond to their biological sex
▪ Students may not be asked about their preferred pronouns and may not be penalized for refusing to share their pronouns
▪ Classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity would be banned from Pre-K to 8th Grade, instead of Kindergarten to 3rd Grade
▪ Limits on classroom instruction would apply to private Pre-Ks and charter schools
▪ Parents must be notified of changes to their student’s mental, emotional or physical health services
▪ Information about these services could be withheld only if a “reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment or neglect”