Now that school is about to start again, teachers are supposedly stressing themselves out in droves as they figure out how to comply with Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law that was passed earlier in 2022. At least, this is what Democrats and their comrades in the activist media want us to believe.
However, the truth appears to be quite different, as teachers in the Sunshine State are receiving guidance preparing them for how to approach the issues addressed by the legislation. In fact, it doesn’t seem likely that the law, which prohibits instructing children younger than seven years old on sexuality and gender identity, will be nearly as gargantuan an issue as progressives have indicated.
But if you read the news reports, you would think teachers are sweating bullets about the idea that teachers should not teach small children about sexuality or gender identity. Spectrum News published a report insinuating this is the case. Clinton McCracken, a gay man who is the president of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association, told the news outlet that LGBTQ teachers are “anxious” about the idea that they might be “targeted” by the law. He said these individuals are concerned that their district will “caution against family pictures in the classroom or pride flags in case that prompts talk on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
“If there is some kind of instruction to those teachers that they should be more cautious for whatever reason, that is telling those teachers that there is something wrong with them or that only the K [through] three teachers need to go back into the closet,” he said.
Well, I’ve got some good news for Mr. McCracken.
According to guidance from the Orange County School District obtained by RedState, he has nothing to worry about. The documentation addresses his concerns, as well as others, when it comes to complying with the law.
The first part of the guidance details how schools should comply with the part of the law that mandates that educators inform parents if their child discusses personal information or has a change in student services that are tied to a student’s mental or physical health. It says “a change in student services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional or physical health or well-being” includes “[n]ew scheduled mental health counseling” and “scheduled behavior intervention.”
The law also notes that teachers are required to inform parents when there is “a change in monitoring,” which includes “[s]chool counselor follow up services” or “[f]ollow up by the teacher or other school personnel after the student discloses personal information to the teacher or other school personnel.”
One of the objections coming from the left to these provisions is that they could result in children facing abuse. However, the law addresses this possibility as well. The document says that if a teacher is confronted with a situation in which “a reasonably prudent person would believe that the disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment or neglect,” they are allowed to withhold information from the parent.
The school district’s guidance also explained to teachers that “The [Parental Rights in Education] Bill equally prohibits instruction on heterosexuality and all other types of sexuality.”
It also explains: “Nothing in that language ‘aims at sexual orientations and gender identities that differ from heterosexual and cisgender identities.’ To the contrary, instruction on ‘the normalcy of opposite-sex attraction’ would equally be ‘instruction on sexual orientation.’”
Even further, the document reads:
“There is no merit, for example, to the suggestion that the statute restricts gay and transgender teachers from ‘put[ting] a family photo on their desk’ or ‘refer[ring] to themselves and their spouse (and their own children).’ Those actions are not ‘instruction,’ which is ‘the action, practice, or profession of teaching.’”
Despite what progressives are trying to convince us to believe, the law does not penalize teachers for merely mentioning sexual orientation or gender identity, and delineates the difference between “mention” and “instruction.”
“The Bill restricts ‘instruction’ on sexual orientation and gender identity, not mere discussion of those subjects,” the document reads. It further explains:
“[T]he mere wearing of an ‘Ally’ lanyard or rainbow symbols on clothing or in classrooms, or the display of ‘safe space’ stickers in the classroom are not ‘classroom instruction’ as defined by the State in its Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit seeking to invalidate House Bill 1557.”
According to the guidance being given to teachers, none of the horror stories progressives are predicting are likely to occur. A teacher with the school district told RedState: “Teachers that I know who read it seemed relieved. They said it certainly cleared up a lot of misconceptions they had about the bill.”
The bottom line is that the notion that teachers should not instruct small children on matters pertaining to sexuality and gender is a sentiment with which most Americans – including a significant percentage of Democrats – agree. Polling has shown this to be true.
Still, progressives are still going to pull out all the stops to deceive the public into thinking the law is somehow going to make life harder for LGBTQ students and teachers. But in reality, the legislation protects the rights of parents, which is something the far left just can’t accept.
Here is the documentation, if you wish to read it for yourself: