Speed Reads

don't say gay

New amendment to Florida bill would require schools to out LGBT students to parents

The Florida state representative who introduced the controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill added a new amendment on Tuesday that would require schools to disclose students' LGBT identities to parents, USA Today reports.

Under the new amendment, school principals would be required to inform parents if they learn that a student identifies as LGBT. In cases with the potential for parental "abuse, abandonment, or neglect," schools must "develop a plan, using all available governmental resources, to disclose such information within (six) weeks" and to "facilitate disclosure between the student and parent through an open dialogue in a safe, supportive, and judgment-free environment."

Florida state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D), who is openly gay, wrote on Twitter that the amendment would "make it even more dangerous for vulnerable kids."

Florida state Rep. Joe Harding (R) introduced HB 1557 — officially called the "Parental Rights in Education" bill — last month. The bill, as originally filed, would give parents easier access to their children's school records and prohibit school districts from "encourag[ing] classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels."

An updated version changes "primary grade levels" to "certain grade levels" to be determined by Florida's Department of Education. According to Time, the phrase "primary grade levels" has no statutory definition under Florida law. Harding said he intended it to apply to "kindergarten through third grade." The bill would also empower parents to sue violators.

"We just want to make sure that teachers promote that discussion at the right age level, and we want to make sure that parents are kept in the loop," Harding said in a video posted to Twitter.

The House bill is being debated on the floor, while the Senate bill is still making its way through committees. Republicans control both houses of Florida's legislature.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has signaled that he supports the bill, according to NBC News.