Straightening Out the School System

Students react to the Florida state Parental Rights and Education Bill

Emma Thalacker, Reporter

Does the Parental Rights in Education bill ring any bells? Or maybe you’ve heard of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that has caused protests throughout the entire country. 

According to the Florida Senate’s government website, the bill prohibits, “school district personnel from discouraging or prohibiting parental notification and involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being; providing construction; prohibiting classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels or in a specified manner…” 

Senior Gabby Johnson fears that if young students aren’t properly educated on sexual orientation there may be misinterpretations.

 “They don’t want homosexuality to be discussed and I think that that’s what’s wrong with the law itself because why should kids be exposed to one sexuality more than the other. […] I think that they should have it in school if they don’t want kids to get the wrong idea because so many things can be misrepresented in society so if they’re actually learning about it from school where it’s more definite and just hit the basics on the spectrum in a simplified way, it can be more beneficial than learning about it from, say, a TV show that has weird romanticized versions of those things.” 

This bill mostly affects students in kindergarten through third grade and that’s why instruction on this subject is so key to the development of their understanding of other future LGBTQ students in their experiences. It is also crucial that school systems are there for their LGBTQ students who may not have support from their family, no matter the age. 

Senior Nathean Nguyen has had a personal experience with this lack of support from his parents and said, “I felt alone at the time so it was really hard to express who I really was[…]when I was younger I turned to my parents to tell them that I thought that I was bi or gay, and I got kicked out. So not having someone to turn to in my family, I turned to my friends at school, and some of their parents were more educated about that subject so it felt like I had other support and family outside my own and I feel other kids should have that opportunity as well.” 

Should younger children be educated on the LGBTQ community at a young age or should the parents be able to decide what information is withheld from their children? Florida Senate has already approved this bill so watch and see if this bill will be adapted into Iowa school systems in the future.