A Florida school district has placed warning labels for parents on more than 100 books containing LGBTQ and raced-based content, according to Fox News.

Florida Education Rule Can Discipline Teachers Who Teach Gender Identity To 5-Year-Olds

The Florida Board of Education unanimously approved a series of policies Wednesday, including one that disciplines teachers who teach gender identity or sexual orientation to 5-year-olds.

The Florida Board of Education unanimously approved a series of policies Wednesday, including one that disciplines teachers who teach gender identity or sexual orientation to 5-year-olds.

The laws (HB 7 and HB 1557) drew heavy opposition from Democrats and have spurred a series of federal lawsuits. Opponents of the law about instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity disparagingly labeled it the “don’t say gay” bill. Republican lawmakers formally titled the bill, “Parental Rights in Education.”

The rule updates a state code of conduct to make clear that teachers could have their educators’ licenses suspended or revoked if they provide instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity to students in kindergarten through third grade.

“Today we joined to uphold the right of parents to raise their children as they best see fit,” State Board of Education Chair Tom Grady said in a press release. “The rules and amendments we approved will support the safety of students and ensure Florida continues to provide high-quality education to every child.”

The rule explains that if a teacher “intentionally” teaches gender identity or sexual orientation before fourth grade, they are subject to “revocation or suspension of the individual educator’s certificate, or the other penalties as provided by law.”

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The board additionally passed a rule which requires elementary schools libraries to make their reading materials, including grade-level reading lists, public. 

“Parents have a right to be involved in their child’s education and informed regarding what is taking place at their child’s school, and moreover students have a right to come to a safe learning environment every day,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “I applaud the State Board of Education for upholding parental rights and continuing to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the students in our schools.”

Schools that allow access to bathrooms and locker rooms on any other basis other than biological sex must post the policy on their website and notify parents via mail of which facilities the policy applies to, the board of education policy noted.

The roughly 40 people who signed up to speak about the rule Wednesday were sharply divided, with some characterizing it as a way to provide transparency and others describing it as being potentially harmful to LGBTQ students.

For example, the rule will require local education officials to follow certain steps to inform parents about district policies.

“If a school board or charter-school governing board has a policy or procedure that allows for separation of bathrooms or locker rooms according to some criteria other than biological sex at birth, the policy or procedure must be posted on the district’s website or charter school’s website and must be sent by mail to student residences to fully inform parents,” part of the rule said.

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The rule will require that districts notify parents which bathrooms and locker rooms “are not separated by biological sex at birth.”

Nikole Parker, director of transgender equality with the LGBTQ-advocacy group Equality Florida, pointed to recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Education aimed at preventing discrimination against students based on such things as gender identity.

“This proposed rule is designed to intimidate school districts from following federal guidance, making schools less safe and adding fuel to a politically motivated crusade against LGBTQ youth and their families,” Parker said.

The federal guidance drew objections this summer from state Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr., who warned schools against making certain accommodations for transgender students, specifically citing bathroom and locker room policies.

The rule also will require districts and charter schools to inform parents about methods of supervision in locker rooms, including how the methods would ensure “the safety and privacy” of students.

Jessica Tillman, chairwoman of the Seminole County chapter of the conservative group Moms For Liberty, supported the rule.

“Not just girls, not just boys, all students need to feel safe in the bathrooms and in their locker rooms. We need to let parents know how they are being monitored,” Tillman said.

Tom Grady, chairman of the State Board of Education, described the rule as being centered on letting parents know what’s going on in schools.

“It’s parental notification. It’s not mandating what a particular bathroom looks like or doesn’t look like or who can use it. It’s about parental notification,” Grady said.

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