US education secretary warns Florida on 'don’t say gay' bill passage: 'All schools must follow federal civil rights law’

US education secretary warns Florida on 'don’t say gay' bill passage: 'All schools must follow federal civil rights law’
Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona, image via Screengrab.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has issued a warning to Florida’s governor, lawmakers, and educators after the state Senate late Tuesday morning passed the dangerous “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

“The Department of Education has made clear that all schools receiving federal funding must follow federal civil rights law, including Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” Secretary Cardona said in a statement. “We stand with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida and across the country, and urge Florida leaders to make sure all their students are protected and supported.”

The bill, which now goes to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, bans “classroom instruction” of LGBTQ issues, including sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3 but also bans LGBTQ issues if not “age appropriate,” a term left undefined in the legislation. The bill also allows parents to sue if they feel their child’s school has violated the sweeping language in the legislation.

“Parents across the country are looking to national, state, and district leaders to support our nation’s students, help them recover from the pandemic, and provide them the academic and mental health supports they need,” Sec. Cardona added. “Instead, leaders in Florida are prioritizing hateful bills that hurt some of the students most in need.”

DeSantis expected to sign it into law.

Over the weekend DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, said that anyone who opposes the bill supports “grooming” of children, a term associated with pedophiles. Almost half (49%) of Floridians oppose the bill, just 40% support it.

One week ago today at his State of the Union address President Joe Biden said, “And for our LGBTQ+ Americans, let’s finally get the bipartisan Equality Act to my desk. The onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families is wrong.”

“As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I will always have your back as your President, so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential,” he added.

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