You’ve likely heard about the Dread “Don’t Say Gay” bill. That’s the name bestowed on the bill by its vehement opponents.
Other than some organizations that are explicitly Christian – and, of a traditional Christian POV – you’ve likely heard little.
That’s because the media is going out of its way to find the most out-there proponents they can manage to locate, putting them – and ONLY them – on camera, and contrasting them with sad-eyed gays, anxious only to live their own lives, without being harassed by those “intolerant haters”.
That’s not what the bill is about – Francis did a delightful post on that here.
I won’t spend much time re-capping what others have done, in posts, and in their own websites (the link is to a specifically traditional parents rights group). And, if you, like me, want to read the actual bill, here’s a link.
Instead, I ask the question, who speaks for the child?
That would have been a ridiculous question when I was a kid. Of course, the parents, who have the obligations and responsibilities for raising that child, are the proper ones to make those decisions. They MIGHT consult so-called professionals – doctors, teachers, therapists, etc. – but they weren’t required to, and, in the event they did, were free to ignore that advice.
It’s been a long, hard slog for The Left to get to a point where the parents’ right to decide issues in their own family can be so easily ignored. The ‘experts’ have fought parents who took their kids out of taxpayer-supported schools, whether to try other educational venues or home-school. So far, although certain local jurisdictions have pursued legal actions against the parents, that right is – relatively – respected. Some school systems harass parents, by insisting on inspections of the home-school, mandating curriculum and lesson plans, and forbidding the students from participation in local sports or educational opportunities.
COVID-justified closures of many schools ended that – with a bang. In March, 2021, the percentage of home schooled children varied, from a low of 1.7% in Massachuchetts (the home of the original compulsory education laws), to a high of 10.6% in North Carolina.
Those numbers likely UNDER-count the numbers (from a National Home Schooling research group). Their data is of those who actually report that they have officially begun teaching their own children. Many people, during the time schools were not available, simply took the initiative without bothering to notify the school. Others found that their kids were still counted as present (Possibly because of the financial advantage to have more students. Every student home-schooled or in an alternative to government ed is a student whose state attendance-based money is not sent to the school).
The Census Bureau figures are higher – much higher. And the Census data is from March of 2021, also. I think if we add in online schools, the trend is obvious.
Having said that, if the online schools only duplicate the values of the physical schools, that’s not an improvement in parental autonomy.
The thing is, parents have to be actively involved in their child’s education. This could be both an opportunity for families, AND for the many teachers who’ve left the field because of the push to impose the values of The Left. They could work with families to generate a yearly curriculum, and create lessons. Those could then be available to other parents who are not pleased with the direction of the schools. Most of this could be available for download online (or hard copy, if preferred). Add in integrated lessons, available for free (some state governments provide a slew of online resources – South Carolina is exceptional in that), and you have a school-in-the-home that can be modified for individual students.
Can EVERY parent do that?
Probably not. But, local churches and parents groups can help them with the process, and share what works for them.
Now, back to That Florida Bill.
I’ve been reading it, and found that it’s not what has been described (Oy! SUCH a surprise!). For example, in the House bill, there IS an exception for mandatory reporting to parents:
“School district personnel may not discourage or prohibit parental notification of and involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being. This subparagraph does not prohibit a school district from adopting procedures that permit school personnel to withhold such information from a parent if a reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect, as those terms are defined in s. 39.01.”
I’m not completely crazy about the way that one’s worded; a Dedicated Leftist could use that to escape any responsibility for reporting, should they be so inclined.
So, does this bill make teachers “Not Say Gay!”?
“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.“
In terms of health services:
“At the beginning of the school year, each school district shall notify parents of each healthcare service offered at their student’s school and the option to withhold consent or decline any specific service. Parental consent to a health care service does not waive the parent’s right to access his or her student’s educational or health records or to be notified about a change in his or her student’s services or monitoring as provided by this paragraph.“
And, as for those intrusive classroom questionnaires?
“Before administering a student well-being questionnaire or health screening form to a student in kindergarten through grade 3, the school district must provide the questionnaire or health screening form to the parent and obtain the permission of the parent.“
Those are the parts that most concern FL schools, and the people working in them.
K-3 students. So, a teacher cannot bring up gender/sex ‘discussions’ in class. If a kid asks the question, a teacher MAY answer, providing the content of that response is ‘age appropriate’. That teacher may also respond, “That’s a question that your parents might better answer.” In other words, leave it to the families to decide what THEIR child is ready to hear, in the appropriate context.
THAT’S what they hate.