A new amendment to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill would require schools to inform parents of their child’s sexual orientation within six weeks of learning the student isn’t heterosexual, NBC affiliate WFLA reported on Monday.
The amendment was filed Friday by the bill’s Republican co-sponsor, state Rep. Joe Harding.
The bill bars educators in Florida from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary schools. Parents would be able to take legal action against school districts they believe have violated the measure.
The original version of the legislation required schools to inform families of their child’s LGBTQ+ status but gave an option for exemption for the outing in cases where educators feared it could lead to abuse, neglect or abandonment.
The new amendment offers no such exception. It instructs school leaders to “develop a plan, using all available governmental resources,” to inform parents about their children’s sexual orientation “through an open dialogue in a safe, supportive, and judgment-free environment that respects the parent-child relationship and protects the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the student.”
Another amendment to HB 1557 notes the potential risks that outing them could have on Florida students.
Filed by Democratic state Rep. Ana Eskamani, it would allow students to sue the Florida Department of Education for damages for “irreparable harm” caused by the disclosure of their sexual orientation.
The full bill, which has the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), is set to face a vote in the Florida House this week.
The bill has been universally condemned by gay rights groups, as well as the White House.
“Every parent … hopes that our leaders will ensure their [children’s] safety, protection and freedom, and today conservative politicians in Florida rejected those basic values by advancing legislation that is designed to target and attack kids who need that support the most, kids from LGBTQI+ community,” Biden press secretary Jen Psaki said in briefing earlier this month.
“Make no mistake, this is not an isolated action in Florida,” she continued. “Across the country, we’re seeing Republican leaders taking action to regulate what students can or cannot read, what they can or cannot learn, and most troubling, who they can or cannot be. This is who these kids are, and these legislators are trying to make it harder for them to be who they are.”