DeSantis: 'Parents Have Every Right to Be Informed About Services Offered to Their Child at School'

By Susan Jones | March 29, 2022 | 6:19am EDT
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stands up to "woke" education. (Photo: Florida governor's office)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stands up to "woke" education. (Photo: Florida governor's office)

( - Undeterred by the exaggerations of furious LGBTQ activists, Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed the "Parental Rights in Education" bill, misleadingly dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill by critics and media activists.

"Parents' rights have been increasingly under assault around the nation, but in Florida we stand up for the rights of parents and the fundamental role they play in the education of their children,” said Governor Ron DeSantis in a statement.

"Parents have every right to be informed about services offered to their child at school, and should be protected from schools using classroom instruction to sexualize their kids as young as 5 years old.”

HB 1557 puts "power back in the hands of parents" by:

-- Prohibiting classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in K-3 classrooms; after grade 3, such conversations must be "age-appropriate."

-- Requires parents to be notified about healthcare services offered at the school, with the right to decline any service offered.

-- Requires parental permission before K-3 students are given any questionnaires or health screenings at school.

Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez noted that the parental rights bill "has been maliciously maligned by those who prefer slogans and sound bites over substance and common sense." She said the DeSantis administration "will not back down to woke corporations and their same tired tactics that are steeped in hypocrisy."

The reference to "woke" corporations is aimed at Disney, which issued the following tweet on Monday:

"Florida’s B+HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law. Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country."

That message followed a recent apology from Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek who was slow to take a stand against the parental rights bill.

The Democrat Party also slammed DeSantis for "dangerously dividing Floridians because he thinks it advances his own personal politics."

According to the Democrat National Committee: "This piece of legislation will only force thousands of LGBTQ+ children to live in fear and is a green light to politicians to censor schools and make the classroom less safe. Time and time again, DeSantis has proven he cares more about catering to extremists than protecting his constituents. Floridians deserve a governor who isn’t solely focused on scoring his next Fox News interview and is actually working to deliver for them.”   

DeSantis, of course, has been mentioned as a possible, eventual presidential candidate, so the DNC has a vested interest in criticizing him.

‘Sexualizing kids in kindergarten’

At a news conference on Monday, Gov. DeSantis gave examples of the LGBTQ+ agenda creeping into the classrooms of the youngest students, through books, posters featuring the "genderbread person," even gender transitioning advice given to students without their parents' knowledge.

DeSantis also took on his critics:

"But I must tell you, these leftist politicians, corporate media outlets, some of these activist groups -- they actually have read the bill. And they're sloganeering because they don't want to admit that they support a lot of the things that we provide protections against.

"For example, they support sexualizing kids in kindergarten. They support injecting woke gender ideology into second grade classrooms. They support enabling schools to quote, 'transition' students to a quote, 'different gender' without the knowledge of the parent, much less without the parent's consent.

"And so what they're doing with these slogans and these narratives is, they are trying to camouflage their true intentions. They know in every single poll that's been done, that actually reads the language of the bill, will find overwhelmingly Americans oppose injecting this stype of material into the classroom of young kids.

"Americans support the right of parents to be informed and to be able to withhold consent over certain types of medical treatments in school. So they know that. And so that's why they're resorting to some of the narratives."

DeSantis also had a message for people in Hollywood who oppose parental rights:

"You know, the one thing I'll say about that is, if the people who held up degenerates like Harvey Weinstein as exemplars and as heroes and all that -- if those are the types of people that are opposing us on parents' rights, I wear that like a badge of honor."

HB 1557 is the latest piece of parental rights legislation signed into law in the current legislative session by Gov. DeSantis.

He previously signed three other bills dealing with curriculum transparency, financial literacy instruction in public schools, and a bill that replaces one-shot standardized exams with a system that tests students three times in the academic year.

For the record, the phrase "don't say gay" does not appear in the bill text. The word "gay" is not there, either.

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