Legislation that would ban discussion of gender identity in the classroom advanced today in the state capitol after more than 100 people voiced their displeasure at the idea. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, changes to the bill are expected, including clarifying which ranks will be affected.
There was standing room only as more than a hundred people showed up to speak out against the legislation sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala).
“We’re talking about K to three,” Baxley told the committee.
He argued that schools fail to involve parents in discussions about sex and gender.
“These children belong to families. They are not wards of the state,” Baxley says.
Senator Tina Polsky asked if the bill would prohibit a child from talking about their family in class. “Why does Johnny have two moms?” She asked. “What’s the teacher supposed to say?” »
Baxley responded by saying “I think you should talk, some talk is for your parents.”
Dan Van Trice told us that this will have a huge impact on what his kids can say in class.
“They take pictures of their families at school and they put them on the bulletin board, and they talk about their families. Well, my kids won’t be able to participate in that,” worries the father or two.
Jackson County teacher Anita Hatcher spoke about her transgender son and his father.
“When you reaffirm parental authority, sometimes you get parental authority from my child’s father, who told him it would be better if he killed himself,” Hatcher told the committee, pointing to the anxiety of children who question their gender.
And although this bill only applies to children up to the third grade, parents tell us that it must apply to all grades.
January Littlejohn was one of the few to testify in favor. She filed a lawsuit in Federal Court after Leon Schools stood behind her back to advise her 13-year-old daughter about her sexual preferences.
“They told me they couldn’t tell me anything about the meeting.” Littlejohn told us. “That my daughter was protected from me.”
As drafted, the bill would allow parents to sue school boards that violate the law.
The ability for parents to sue should be removed from the bill when it next stops and replaced with a fine or other penalties.