Education Secretary reminds Florida governor that federal law trumps the “Don’t Say Gay” bill

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona prepares to speak to the House Ed & Labor Committee on investing in education in 2021.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona prepares to speak to the House Ed & Labor Committee on investing in education in 2021. Photo: Facebook

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona took to Twitter to remind Florida who is boss when it comes to civil rights for LGBTQ people.

He criticized Florida’s political leaders for prioritizing “bills based on hate and discrimination” over “students’ pandemic recovery” and urged them to join him in protecting and supporting LGBTQ students.

Related link: Biden administration extends Title IX protections to LGBTQ students

In an attached statement, Sec. Cardona reminded Florida that federal law protects the rights of LGBTQ students and that federal funding is attached to following civil rights law:

Parents across the country are looking to national, state, and district leaders to support our nation’s students, help them recover from the pandemic, and provide them the academic and mental health supports they need.

Instead, leaders in Florida are prioritizing hateful bills that hurt some of the students most in need.

The Department of Education has made clear that all schools receiving federal funding must follow federal civil rights law, including Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

We stand with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida and across the country, and urge Florida leaders to make sure all their students are protected and supported.

The bill, officially known as the Parental Rights in Education Bill, prohibits teachers from encouraging “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law, and previously said he believes it is “entirely inappropriate” for teachers to talk to their students about gender identity.

Florida students spoke out against the bill on the street and in the statehouse.

“If parents know what’s best for their kids, why did my best friend get kicked out of his house and have to live with me?” said Orange County high school student Will Larkins.  “Why do so many kids get abused for their sexuality and gender identity?”

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