The Florida Board of Education extended an existing ban on lessons involving gender identity and sexual orientation from K-3 to all grades in public schools.
Previously the board had issued a ban on such lessons that simply covered K-3 grades under a law passed in 2022.
Gov. Ron DeSantis requested the extension under the Parental Rights in Education law, which was the framework for the original ban, reported Fox News.
The board unanimously approved the extension on Wednesday.
It prohibits lessons on gender identity or sexual orientation unless required under state standards or taught in health classes, where parents can choose to opt out their children from such lessons, said the Associated Press (AP).
Fox reports that Florida’s Department of Education hopes the move will clarify for teachers what’s expected of them in terms of following curriculum.
“We’re not removing anything here,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. said Wednesday, according to Fox. “All we are doing is we are setting the expectations, so our teachers are clear that they are to teach to the standards.”
The measure is part of a nationwide effort by a coalition of parents and politicians to remove age-inappropriate materials from school curriculum and libraries.
“Especially when it comes to issues such as sexual orientation and gender identity, these decisions should be left at home for parents to decide when their children should be exposed to this material,” said Ryan Kennedy, a member of the Florida Citizens Alliance, a conservative education group, according to AP.
If a teacher violates the rule, they could face suspension or even lose their teaching license, reported AP.
The rule will go into effect in 34 days, allowing educators time to prepare for its implementation, according to the Miami Herald.
While Diaz said the rule simply covers curriculum, not general conversations, the governor was more emphatic.
“There is no reason for instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity to be part of K-12 public education. Full stop,” said DeSantis’ press secretary, Bryan Griffin.
DeSantis said previously that efforts to teach gender identity, sexual orientation and diversity, equity and inclusion in schools stifle intellectual freedom and chill political opposition to progressive identity politics.