Florida may ban discussions of elementary school period for girls
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Legislation passed at the Florida House would ban discussion of menstrual cycles and other topics of human sexuality in elementary classrooms.
The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Stan McClain would limit teaching in public schools about human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, and related topics to grades 6 through 12. McClain confirmed at a recent committee meeting that discussion of menstrual cycles would also be limited to these levels.
“So if little girls know their menstrual cycle in 5th or 4th grade, will that ban conversations for them since they’re in the lower grade than 6th grade?” asked state Rep. Ashley Gantt, a Democrat who taught in public schools and noted that girls as young as 10 can start menstruating.
“It would be,” McClain replied.
The GOP-backed legislation authorized the House Education Quality Subcommittee on Wednesday by a 13-5 vote, mostly along party lines. It would also allow parents to object to the books and other materials their children are exposed to, require schools to teach that a person’s gender identity is biologically determined at birth, and introduce greater scrutiny of certain teaching materials by the State Department of Education.
McClain said the intent of the bill is to standardize sex education across Florida’s 67 school districts and provide more avenues for parents to object to books or other materials they deem inappropriate for young children.
At the committee meeting, Gantt asked if teachers could be punished for discussing menstruation with younger students.
“My worry is that they won’t feel safe having these conversations with these little girls,” she said.
McClain said that “that would not be the intent” of the bill and that he is “receptive” to some changes in its wording. The measure must be approved by another committee before it can reach the House floor; a similar bill is pending in the Senate.
An email seeking comment was sent Saturday to the office of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely seen as a potential 2024 presidential candidate.
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