The “Dont Say Gay” law explained
By Victoria Neece
Name of the bill: House Bill 1557 or commonly referred to as the the “Don't Say Gay” Law.
What it does: This bill will prohibit public school districts in Florida from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
Why was the bill created: According to “Time," “State Rep. Joe Harding, a Republican who introduced the bill, told 'Time' in February that the bill’s intention is to keep parents 'in the know and involved on what’s going on’ with their child’s education.’”
When the bill was signed and put into effect: Monday, March 28, 2022
What impacts this bill will have: House Bill 1557 will prohibit children who have LGBTQ+ family members from talking about their family in a classroom environment and it would also impact how teachers provide instructions on a day to day basis.
What opponents of the bill are saying: Kara Gross, the legislative director and senior policy counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, has brought up how this law will affect students and teachers in the classroom.
“What happens if a child being raised by a same-sex couples draws a picture of their two dads? Their teacher may face a decision between allowing the child to participate and opening themselves and their school up to lawsuits, or excluding them from the exercise,” said Gross.
“The bill’s intentionally vague language leaves teachers afraid to talk to their students and opens up school districts to costly and frivolous litigation from those seeking to exclude LGBTQ people from any grade level,” said state Rep. Carlos G. Smith, a Democrat who is gay. “Even worse, #DontSayGay sends a hateful message to our most vulnerable youth who simply need our support.”
What could happen if teachers violate the bill: Parents are now allowed to sue a school district if they believe their children were provided with inappropriate instruction about “sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Victoria is a junior. This is her second year
as a staff writer for The Growl and her first
as social media manager.