Red States see tidal wave of bills aiming to restrict sex and gender lessons for kids

Laurel Duggan, DCNF

  • Numerous states are considering bills restricting sexual identity and gender lessons in schools.
  • Recent Florida legislation banned similar lessons in kindergarten through third grade, sparking a national debate about curricula for young children.
  • “Other states may indeed want to follow the lead on this common-sense legislation,” Bryan Griffin, deputy press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Republican-led states are moving to limit classroom instruction on gender and sexuality for young children.

Lawmakers in eleven states are considering bills that would limit school lessons on sex and gender for certain age groups, restrict books with sexual themes, require sex education to emphasize biological sex rather than gender identity and crack down on gender and sexuality-related trainings for children.

The massive wave of legislation comes amid increased parental concern about school curricula for young children and a national debate about Florida’s widely-publicized Parental Rights in Education bill, which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Despite hostile media coverage and vocal opposition from Democrats, Americans were more likely to support than oppose the measure in a March poll conducted by Morning Consult and Politico.

“Governor Ron DeSantis does what is right for Floridians, and in this case, he stood up for Florida’s parents and children,” Bryan Griffin, deputy press secretary for DeSantis, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Other states may indeed want to follow the lead on this common-sense legislation.”

Lawmakers in Ohio proposed a bill banning classroom lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation for children in kindergarten through third grade, much like the Florida bill. The legislation has not yet been voted on by lawmakers.

“Why are Democrats and the media upset about a bill that prevents curriculum about sex and gender identity being taught to 6 year olds? Help me understand,” cosponsor Republican state Rep. Mike Loychik wrote on Twitter.

“Curriculum about gender identity and sexuality has no place in K-3 classrooms, period,” he said.

The Alabama legislature passed a bill Thursday banning classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through fifth grade. It now awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Kay Ivey.

“Enough of this woke radical nonsense that preys on our kids,” Ivey wrote on Twitter. “We’re going to focus on protecting our kids and keeping our schools focused on being a place where students learn the fundamentals.”

Louisiana is considering a bill introduced March 21 limiting classroom discussion on gender identity and sexual orientation for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. A South Carolina bill which has not yet been voted on would ban such instruction for any student under 18.

Missouri and Indiana are considering bans on mandatory gender and sexual diversity trainings in public schools. Both bills are still in committee. Kentucky is considering a related bill that bans such trainings in postsecondary institutions.

Oklahoma and Tennessee may restrict books in schools that focus on sexuality and sexual orientation. Lawmakers have not voted on either bill yet.

An Arizona bill would mandate that sex education in public schools focus on biological sex rather than gender identity, while an Iowa bill would require parental consent for any instruction on gender identity. These bills have not been voted on yet.

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