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HB 1069

Sex Education Restrictions / Book Censorship

By Representative Stan McClain

 

This legislation takes total control from local school districts in approving sex ed curriculum and gives it to the State Department of Education. Additionally, it will censor school materials, create policies that erase and stigmatize LGBTQ+ students, and effectively require any instruction on human sexuality to include a reductive and binary view of sex based on reproductive roles.

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Puts State Bureaucrats in charge of sex ed, taking curriculum choices away from local communities

This legislation takes total control from local school districts to approve sex ed curriculum and gives it to the State Department of Education. Florida does not require public schools to teach sexual health education, but currently allows them to develop curriculum as long as “abstinence-only” standards are applied. Currently, school districts have discretion over their sexual health education policy.

Expands censorship of school materials

This bill would significantly broaden content review to include classroom libraries and give broad approval power to the State Board of Education to approve any materials and curriculum used to teach sexual health education and human sexuality. 

Requires that materials contested by a parent or any resident of the county under review on the alleged basis that the material “depicts or describes sexual conduct” be unavailable to students while under consideration, but that passages may be available to parents while under review

Stigmatizes and limits access to sex education, endangering youth

We all want to keep children safe but stigmatizing and limiting access to sex education will have the opposite effect. 

Research shows that well-designed and well-implemented sex education programs can decrease sexual risk behaviors among teens, including delaying sexual intercourse, increasing condom or contraceptive use, reducing the number of partners, and decreasing the frequency of unprotected sex. 

We can ensure that young people in Florida are protected, and best able to make healthy, informed decisions by having sex education available to them, not by restricting access to critical information.

The legislation erases trans students from discussion and undermines their existence. We know that bills like this have devastating impacts on the mental and emotional health of LGBTQ+ students, especially trans young people.

 

Sets young people up for health risks like STIs and unintended pregnancies

Research from the National Survey of Family Growth assessed the impact of sexuality education on youth sexual risk-taking for young people ages 15-19 and found that teens who received comprehensive sex education were 50 percent less likely to experience pregnancy than those who received abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

Bill Overview

If enacted, this bill would impose numerous mandates on classroom instruction in Florida. It would take power from local school districts in approving their reproductive health and disease education (sex ed) curriculum and give it to the State Department of Education. The bill also seems to remove the requirement that the review of sex ed curriculum happens at an “open, noticed meeting,” which will provide less transparency to community members about Department review decisions. 

HB 1069 would do the following:

  • Take total control from local school districts to approve sex ed curriculum and give it to the State Department of Education.
  • Require that instruction on reproductive health and disease education only occur in grades 6-12.
  • Provide a definition of ‘sex’ in the Florida Early Learning-20 Education Code: “binary division of individuals based on reproductive function.”
  • Broaden censorship to classroom libraries.
  • Require each district school board to adopt and publish on its website the process for a parent or county resident to limit the books and media materials his or her student can access in the school’s library.

The Florida Department of Education has a terrible record on LGBTQIA+ youth and policies rooted in scientifically and medically accurate information

In 2022, DOE cited 10 school districts as out of compliance with state law, specifically targeting guides for affirming LGTBQ+ students. 

DOE is actively working to pressure schools out of participating in the CDC’s mental health survey (Youth Risk Behavioral Survey), just weeks after the federal agency reported worsening mental health, suicidal ideations, and increased instances of sexual violence. This is not a new trend. HB 7 (2022) removed required instruction of mental and emotional health from K-12 schools, replacing it with life skills and self-motivation. An expansion of her 2021 initiative, last year First Lady Casey DeSantis announced the mental health education model be rebranded as “Resiliency Education''.

The DeSantis administration took down a Department of Education web page that supplied anti-bullying resources for educators, parents and students to help create safe school environments and address high rates of suicide.

Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz issued a memo disregarding Title IX protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the latest in the weaponizing of state agencies by the DeSantis Administration against LGBTQ Floridians. 

The State Board of Education voted unanimously on new rules designed to intimidate school districts and teachers that affirm LGBTQ students — including expanding the enforcement of HB 1557, the Don’t Say LGBTQ law. One rule passed today threatens teachers with termination of both their job and education certificate if they are found to have engaged in “classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity”.

In late February, Commissioner Manny Diaz followed up on the Governor’s request for lists of all the books in schools dealing with sexual education & social emotional learning, stating to school boards and superintendents that use of such curriculum should immediately cease, prior to review for compliance.