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Florida set to expand ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law to all school years – Global Edition News – Report by AFR

Florida is expected to ban the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in all school grades, expanding a controversial law championed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis ahead of his widely expected presidential run.

The new rule would build on what critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law when it was enacted almost a year ago and will be up for a vote by the southern US state’s Board of Education on April 19, local media reported Wednesday.

It has already been approved by the Department of Education, which like the board is led by DeSantis appointees, and will not need legislative approval to take effect, according to the reports.

If approved, teachers will be prohibited from “intentionally” teaching topics related to “sexual orientation or gender identity” to students from the fourth grade through to their final year of high school.

Last year’s initiative applied only to kindergarten through third grade. 

DeSantis made it one of the signature laws in his cultural battle against politicians, teachers and businesses he accuses of wanting to impose a progressive “woke” ideology on others. 

The governor has increasingly courted conservative voters with his controversial proposals on education and immigration in recent months, as jockeying for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination heats up.

A rising star of the American right, DeSantis is widely expected to go toe-to-toe with former president Donald Trump, who has already declared his candidacy.

The move to expand the “Don’t Say Gay” restrictions has already drawn pushback from activists, including Equality Florida. 

“This has been the goal all along: sweeping censorship and book banning targeting LGBTQ people in service to his presidential ambitions,” the group tweeted Wednesday, referring to DeSantis. 

“Now educators, in any grade level, and their livelihoods are being placed directly in the crosshairs for acknowledging that LGBTQ people exist.”

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