It only makes sense for parents to be worried about what their children are learning in school. Parents wish for things to be age-appropriate according to the grade their child is in, but just how far should parents be allowed to meddle in their children’s education, before it becomes a hindrance?
For many, it is the new controversial bill in Florida infamously dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” that is the answer to this question.
The bill was originally called “Parental Rights In Education,” and the bill was meant to greatly reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children. But, it outright prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels, namely Kindergarten through third grade.
The conservatives behind this movement seeing it as inappropriate for America’s young minds. But it’s hard to justify this reasoning when it was “Critical Race Theory” that was under attack nearly just a year ago, not to mention, the crusade of banning books.
Agenda aside, the bill is harmful and has brought up constitutional issues concerning freedom of speech.
If more bills like these are passed in every state, we could see a chilling effect. Teachers will be afraid to speak, and outright censor themselves out of fear of being sued by parents. As for students who may be trying to discover their sexual orientation, or wondering why their classmate has two dads or two moms, they cannot even have a discussion about it in class.
Yes, parents should have a right to have a say in their child’s education, but the “Parental Rights In Education” crosses boundaries and is in essence anti-LGBTQ+. Those in opposition do not see this bill as worried parents fretting over their children, but instead see this as parents trying to instill their beliefs outside of their home.
Among the cascade of bills that have followed, a senate proposal has been brought to Iowa that would require parents to opt in – with a signed agreement – to any instruction relating to gender identity, which could consequently, affect the LGBTQ+ community here in Iowa. After all, not mentioning LGBTQ+ people and issues does not make them disappear. It will instead encourage further discrimination.
So, tell your legislator no to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill here in Iowa, and stand as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community that is also homed here at Kirkwood.