Amendment to 'Don't Say Gay' bill in Florida requires schools to out students to their parents within six weeks

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Oct 1, 2022, 3:06:20 AMOct 1
A new amendment to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill would require schools to
inform parents of their children’s sexual orientation within six weeks of
learning the student isn’t straight, NBC affiliate WFLA reported on

The amendment was filed Friday by the bill’s co-sponsor, state Rep. Joe
Harding (R).

The bill, which has gained national attention and pushback, bars educators
in Florida from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity in
primary schools. Parents would be able to take legal action against school
districts they believe have violated the measure.

The original version of the legislation required schools to inform
families of their child’s LGBTQ+ status but gave an option for exemption
for the outing in cases where educators feared it could lead to abuse,
neglect or abandonment.

The amendment offers no such exception.

It instructs school leaders to “develop a plan, using all available
governmental resources,” to inform parents about their children’s sexual
orientation “through an open dialogue in a safe, supportive, and judgment-
free environment that respects the parent-child relationship and protects
the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the student.”

Another amendment to HB 1557 notes the potential risks that outing them
could have on Florida students.

Filed by Democratic state Rep. Ana Eskamani, it would allow students to
sue the Florida Department of Education for damages for “irreparable harm”
caused by the disclosure of their sexual orientation.

The full bill, which has the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), is set to
face a vote in the Florida House this week.

It has been universally condemned by gay rights groups, as well as the
White House.

“Every parent … hopes that our leaders will ensure their [children’s]
safety, protection and freedom, and today conservative politicians in
Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is
designed to target and attack kids who need that support the most, kids
from LGBTQI+ community,” Biden press secretary Jen Psaki said in briefing
earlier this month.

“Make no mistake, this is not an isolated action in Florida,” she
continued. “Across the country, we’re seeing Republican leaders taking
action to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or
cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be. This is who
these kids are, and these legislators are trying to make it harder for
them to be who they are.”
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