I mean what do they think “grooming” involves? For one thing talking about sex or gender identity doesn’t automatically inovlve showing how to do sex acts.
The bill imposes several vague restrictions on classroom instruction. The most notable part of the bill provides that “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.”
The bill, however, does not define key terms like “age appropriate” or “developmentally appropriate.” It doesn’t even define the term “classroom instruction.”
Suppose, for example, that Ms. Smith is a second grade teacher married to a woman. One evening, while Smith and her wife are shopping at the mall, she runs into one of her students and they say hello to each other. The next day, the student asks Ms. Smith who the woman she was shopping with is, and Smith responds, “Oh, that’s my wife.”
If this conversation with the student occurs in a classroom, does it constitute “classroom instruction”?
The insidiousness of Florida’s law is that teachers who won’t understand how to comply with the new law are likely to overcensor their speech in order to protect themselves from being accused of violating the law.
Under current law, the Don’t Say Gay bill isn’t just vague, it is unconstitutionally vague. In Keyishian v. Board of Regents (1967), for example, the Court struck down a web of New York laws intended to prevent communists and other “subversives” from becoming teachers or professors — one statute, which barred employment of anyone who “‘advises or teaches the doctrine’ of forceful overthrow of government” was so broadly worded that it could potentially have forbidden state-run universities from teaching the Declaration of Independence.
A statute governing classroom speech, the Court established in Keyishian , must not be so vague that people “of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application.” If Keyishian remains good law — and there is no guarantee that the US Supreme Court’s Republican supermajority will apply Keyishian fairly to an anti-LGBTQ law — then Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill does not clear this bar. It’s simply too vague.
As Clay Calvert, the director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida, told Changing America, the “Don’t Say Gay” law could have a “chilling effect.” Teachers may be inclined to censor themselves for fear of retribution by parents who might even sue.
There is also the issue of the free-speech rights of the students.
In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court made it abundantly clear in Tinker v. Des Moines School Dist. that students of every age have First Amendment rights. Calvert says that means students have the right to sue if their discussions or questions about sexual identity are stifled.
“You can imagine a child who is questioning their sexual orientation at a young age and then being shut down by a teacher who says, ‘Well, by law, unfortunately, we can’t encourage discussion of this,’” Calvert said.
“It’s a complex issue because it really is about how much a state legislative body can do to limit speech and limit expression in the classroom,” he added.
Finally there is the fact that the bill is based on several lies:
Supporters said the measure is intended to push back on attempts to incorporate gender identity and sexual orientation into the education of young children.
In a campaign-style video shared by Fox News, DeSantis addressed criticism of the bill in front of a friendly crowd: “In the state of Florida, we are not going to allow them to inject transgenderism into kindergarten.”
“First graders should not have woke gender ideology imposed in their curriculum, and that is what we are standing for,” DeSantis said.
These statements echo remarks by state Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, the bill’s Senate sponsor who said he was addressing “social engineering” that could result in more children identifying as gay or transgender.
Brandon Wolf, press secretary of LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida, said these tropes may further stigmatize LGBTQ students. “Suggesting that sexual orientation or gender identity is ‘contagious’ is not based in fact.”
Baxley did not respond to PolitiFact’s request for evidence. When they asked DeSantis about his statement, press secretary Christina Pushaw said that DeSantis is trying to prevent indoctrination.
Angela Mann, associate professor of child psychology at the University of North Florida, said she was not aware of any research showing classroom lessons could alter sexual orientation or gender identity.
“I am not aware of any K-3 grade teacher that is campaigning or ‘social engineering’ students to be LGBTQ such that it could be studied to tell whether or not such a campaign could be successful,” Mann told PolitiFact.
Democratic lawmakers tried to amend the provision to prohibit classroom instruction intended to change a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity. They also tried to narrow the bill to specifically bar classroom instruction on “sexual activity.” Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Republican from St. Petersburg, tried multiple times to amend the bill to bar instruction of “human sexuality,” another effort to make the bill less about identity. None of these amendments passed.
The Florida Department of Education told PolitiFact that sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in the curriculum taught in the state’s kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.
Pushaw said that not including a topic in a curriculum does not mean it won’t be brought up in classroom instruction, pointing to a guide used by Palm Beach County Schools intended to create a “safer place for all students.”
It becomes clear that Republicans want to censor any discussion of LGBT identities. For example, While Florida Republicans have said that children of LGBTQ parents would be able to discuss their familial structures in class, that language is not included in the bill .
Democratic opponents of the bill tried to exclude discussion related to family structures, historical events or bullying prevention, but their amendments failed.