The Biden administration has reacted negatively to the news that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the state’s anti-grooming legislation, which prohibits teachers from instructing preschoolers to third graders on the subject of gender identity and sexual orientation.
The U.S. president promised to take action against the bill, which has been mischaracterized as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by journalists, activists and celebrities.
“Every student deserves to feel safe and welcome in the classroom,” said President Joe Biden in a Monday afternoon tweet after DeSantis signed the bill, which is officially called the Parents Rights in Education bill. “Our LGBTQI+ youth deserve to be affirmed and accepted just as they are.”
“My Administration will continue to fight for dignity and opportunity for every student and family — in Florida and around the country,” added Biden.
The Biden administration did not offer any concrete details on how it plans to oppose the bill, noting only that it “will be monitoring this law upon implementation to evaluate whether it violates federal civil rights law,” according to a statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
“As always, any student who believes they are experiencing discrimination, including harassment, at school or any parent who is concerned that about their child experiencing discrimination can file a complaint with our Office for Civil Rights,” Cardona said.
“By signing this bill, Gov. DeSantis has chosen to target some of Florida’s most vulnerable students and families, all while under the guise of ‘parents’ rights,'” Cardona continued. “Make no mistake: this is a part of a disturbing and dangerous trend across the country of legislation targeting LGBTQI+ students, educators and individuals.”
Under the legislation, “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through Grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”