Parental Rights in Education may look different in different parts of the state: Gov. DeSantis

Florida Politics | By A. G. Gancarski | March 29, 2022

“Some parts of the state could come to a little bit different conclusions.”

Florida’s Governor told a national radio audience Tuesday that the controversial Parental Rights in Education bill may be enforced differently in different parts of the state.

Gov. Ron DeSantis contended during an appearance on the Guy Benson Show that the application of the law would stem from a “combination between the state Board of Education and local school boards.”

Meanwhile, “you may see some parts of the state could come to a little bit different conclusions depending on the years on some of that stuff,” DeSantis told Benson. The Governor did not speculate on what “some of that stuff” might be.

Benson, a conservative host, said that the bill had “vague and subjective” language regarding its provision that requires instruction to be “age and developmentally appropriate.” That concern was voiced during the legislative process by Democrats, and it’s clear that even those right of center have similar questions about how the law would be applied.

Benson also pressed DeSantis on whether the bill required schools to tell parents if students told staffers they were considering “coming out.” The Governor suggested that the bill doesn’t ban “conversations” about such matters writ large, but that it was about “some type of service that’s provided, in terms of a medical service,” such as hormone therapy.

“Classroom instruction. Sometimes people say ‘can you even say something in class,’ that’s not what that is,” DeSantis said. “It’s what’s the curriculum on that part.”

“People have conversations all the time. That’s never really been the issue that’s triggered this,” DeSantis added.

The Governor’s comments offer some context to the law (HB 1557) signed yesterday, which limits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity. “Instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity” is banned for students in kindergarten through third grade, as is instruction for all students “in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

The legislation does not restrict the topics from being barred across all ages if the school district deems the instruction age-inappropriate, and DeSantis’ comments suggest that local input may ultimately be considered in how this law is applied after all.


Florida Politics’ Kelly Hayes contributed to this report.

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