New ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Amendment Forces Staff to Out Students

  • An amendment to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill could force schools to out gay and trans children.
  • It would require teachers to inform parents of their child’s sexual orientation or gender identity within 6 weeks of learning.
  • Florida House Bill 1557 also prohibits “discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels.”

A new amendment to Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, also dubbed as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, would require schools to tell a child’s parents if their kid is not straight within six weeks of learning.

The bill initially received pushback for barring school districts from encouraging “discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students,” however the bill never explicitly notes what is defined as “age-appropriate” or “developmentally appropriate.”

The bill originally required staff to “out” students to their parents if the school became aware of the child’s sexual orientation or gender identity through counseling or other services, barring situations where a “reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment , or neglect.”

A new amendment for the bill filed by one of its co-sponsors, Rep. Joe Harding, changes that section of the bill and requires school staff to make a plan to “disclose such information within 6 weeks” to the child’s parents, regardless of if it might result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

The amendment notes the school must facilitate the meeting in a way that “protects the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the student.” The amendment does not, however, elaborate as to what that setup might look like.

President Joe Biden publicly deounced the original legislation in a tweet on February 8, 2022, after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signaled his support for the bill.

“I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community — especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill — to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are,” Biden tweeted. “I have your back, and my Administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve.”

Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg lambasted the bill in January on Twitter. The former educator said the legislation “will kill kids,” citing a survey from the Trevor Project showing the high rates of suicidal ideation among LGBTQ youth.

The Florida House is set to vote on the bill on Tuesday.

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