Florida teachers have revealed that the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill and its harmful restrictions have started to take effect.
Back in March, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the horrific bill into law after it was passed by conservative lawmakers in the House and Senate.
Under the harmful bill, teachers and schools are barred from discussing “sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
Since the law officially passed, activists have denounced DeSantis, the legislation, its political sponsors and the companies backing the legislation.
However despite massive pushback, it looks as though school officials have already taken steps to implement the bill’s harmful guidelines.
According to a report from WFTV, principals in the Orange County Public School District (OCPS) have started instructing teachers to refrain from wearing rainbow clothing and to remove their LGBTQ+ inclusive classroom decorations, like “Safe Space” stickers.
Queer teachers with same-sex partners have also been discouraged from discussing or displaying photos of their loved ones.
The new guidelines stemmed from a recent OCPS “administrators-only” seminar called Camp Legal.
Alongside the aforementioned rules, the Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) told the news outlet that educators were required to out students to their parents if they open up about their LGBTQ+ identity at school.
If it involves a trans or non-binary student, teachers were told not to use pronouns that align with their gender identity.
“It will be alarming if our district chooses to interpret this law in the most extreme way,” CTA President-elect Clinton McCraken said in response to the rules.
“We want them to protect student privacy. We want them to make sure that they’re creating and helping to create safe classrooms. We believe our school board supports that.”
Shortly after the new rules made waves, an OCPS representative confirmed that guidelines were created at the aforementioned legal meeting.
“During the presentation, administrators posed hypothetical scenarios based upon the new statutes, and verbal answers were provided based on the limited guidance from the Florida Department of Education,” they said in a statement.
“Once further guidance is received from the Florida Department of Education, the district will provide formal guidance to administrators and staff.”
In an additional statement, a second OCPS spokesperson said that the informal guidelines were given to school officials to allegedly protect the students and the teachers of the district.
The official also said that teachers risk losing their licences if they don’t abide by the law.
According to the HRC, more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are currently being put forward across the United States – some of which are similar to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation.
Florida’s archaic ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is set to go into effect on 1 July.