Florida Department of Education amends rule to strip licenses of K-3 teachers who discuss gender identity

The new rules follow Gov. Ron DeSantis signing the "Parental Rights in Education" bill into law

The Florida State Board of Education adopted new rules on Wednesday, which include revoking or suspending the license from teachers who teach K-3 students about gender or sexuality.

The board "unanimously" voted to amend their "Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession" to penalize teachers for teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity in grades kindergarten through third grade. 

The language stated teachers "shall not intentionally provide classroom instruction to students in kindergarten through grade 3 on sexual orientation or gender identity."

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Parents protesting in Loudoun County, Virginia, on June 22, 2021. 

Parents protesting in Loudoun County, Virginia, on June 22, 2021.  (Reuters)

"Florida educators shall comply with the following disciplinary principles. Violation of any of these principles shall subject the individual to revocation or suspension of the individual educator’s certificate, or the other penalties as provided by law," the ruling states.

The changes stem from Republican Governor Ron DeSantis' education legislation he signed into law earlier this year. The most notable piece of legislation was Florida House Bill 1557 "Parental Rights in Education," which was dubbed by critics as the "don't say gay" bill. The law bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" in grades K-3. 

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School districts are offering incentives and pay raises to get more teachers into the classroom before August.   

School districts are offering incentives and pay raises to get more teachers into the classroom before August.    (FNC)

Florida state law states the Education Practices Commission "may suspend the educator certificate of any instructional personnel or school administrator" if they violated "the Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession prescribed by State Board of Education rules."

"The Commissioner may pursue disciplinary action against the license of an educator who violates the principles," Florida law states. 

Another specific rule change the Florida State Board of Education adopted include notifying parents about how bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms are designated.  

"The purpose of this rule is to protect students’ safety and the fundamental rights of parents to be fully informed of how bathrooms are designated and how locker rooms, which include dressing rooms, are designated and supervised," the rule states. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference on the island of Matlacha on October 05, 2022 in Matlacha Florida.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference on the island of Matlacha on October 05, 2022 in Matlacha Florida. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Other rule changes the Board adopted include safeguarding students’ educational records to protect their privacy and establishing an elementary school website listing of library materials and reading lists.

"Parents have a right to be involved in their child’s education and informed regarding what is taking place at their child’s school, and moreover students have a right to come to a safe learning environment every day," Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. said "I applaud the State Board of Education for upholding parental rights and continuing to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the students in our schools."