Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ′ administration is moving to forbid classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the controversial law critics call “Don’t Say Gay” as the Republican governor continues to focus on cultural issues ahead of his expected presidential run.
The proposal, which would not require legislative approval, is scheduled for a vote next month before the state Board of Education and has been put forward by the state Education Department, both of which are led by appointees of the governor.
The rule change would ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from grades 4 to 12, unless required by existing state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction that students can choose not to take. The initial law that DeSantis championed last spring bans those lessons in kindergarten through the third grade. The change was first reported by the Orlando Sentinel.
DeSantis has leaned heavily into cultural divides on his path to an anticipated White House bid, with the Republican aggressively pursuing a conservative agenda that targets what he calls the insertion of inappropriate subjects in schools.
Spokespeople for the governor’s office and the Education Department did not immediately return an emailed request for comment.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre condemned the proposal saying “It’s wrong, it’s completely, utterly wrong.” She called it “part of a disturbing and dangerous trend that we’re seeing across the nation” of targeting LGBTQ people.