Jacksonville State Senator Clay Yarborough filed a package of parental empowerment and child safety legislation, building on legislative efforts to defend and expand parental rights in education, while setting appropriate standards to protect children from controversial sex re-assignment treatments, and cracking down on entities that knowingly expose children to lewd live performances. Florida Democrats have already attacked the legislation, emphasizing the ongoing political controversy.
Here’s a description of the various pieces of legislation:
SB 1320, Child Protection in Public Schools
The bill prohibits classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity in Pre-K through Grade 8, and expands the role of parents in reviewing and approving instructional materials, with a clear process when a parent wants to object to specific content.
The bill also protects students and teachers from being required to use language that violates their personal convictions. Specifically, the bill prohibits a school from requiring, as a condition of employment, that a teacher refer to a student or another teacher by a pronoun that does not correspond to that person’s sex. Similarly, students cannot be forced to refer to a teacher or to other students by pronouns that do not correspond to the person’s sex.
SB 1438, Protection of Children
The bill authorizes the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to fine, suspend, or revoke the license of any public lodging establishment or public food service establishment if the establishment admits a child to a live adult performance that depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, or lewd exposure.
SB 254, Treatments for Sex-Reassignment
The bill protects children from being subjected to sex-reassignment prescriptions and procedures. Licensed health care facilities offering these services must attest that they do not provide treatment to patients younger than 18. Exceptions are provided for patients with genetic or biochemical disorders as well as those with certain injuries or illnesses.
“In recent years, too often we have seen an effort to distance parents from important decisions in their child’s life. Whether it is education or health, keeping parents in the dark is unacceptable. Our schools should be teaching students to respect and obey their parents, not hiding critical information from them,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, a Republican. “We have made great strides in recent years. Last session we defended and expanded parental rights in education, and the feedback from parents and teachers who appreciate appropriate guardrails on social issues being taught in schools is overwhelmingly positive. This year, we’re going to further expand on that good work.”
“This legislation sends a strong message that Florida is a safe place to raise children. As the father of four young boys, I know that childhood is as special as it is short. Florida parents are worried about the radical, prurient agenda that has become pervasive across most forms of media, specifically targeting young children,” said Republican State Senator Yarborough. “We need to let kids be kids, and our laws need to set appropriate boundaries that respect the rights and responsibilities of parents, while protecting children from the serious health, safety, and welfare consequences of social agendas that are totally inconsistent with how the overwhelming majority of parents want to raise their children.”
“Parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit, and government intervention should be a last resort. Unfortunately, all too often we are hearing about treatments for gender dysphoria being administered to children, often very young children. That’s just wrong, and we need to step in and make sure it isn’t happening in our state,” continued President Passidomo.
“As lawmakers, we have to draw the line when drastic, life-altering gender dysphoria therapies and surgeries are mutilating young children. We also have a responsibility to protect children from viewing lewd conduct that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in our communities. Whether it is a business that knowingly admits children to view performances meant for an adult audience, or schools that allow pornographic instructional materials that promote promiscuity, we must take a strong stand for child safety and against a troubling social agenda that seeks to indoctrinate young children and replace the role of parents.” continued Senator Yarborough. “Teachers should be able to spend their time focusing on skills that help a child succeed in life, not delving into every social issue or being forced to use language that would violate their personal convictions. This legislation not only protects our students and safeguards the rights of parents, but also protects teachers by striking the right balance between what is appropriate to teach in the home and what is taught in school.”