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High school demands permission slips for PG Disney film: DeSantis’ culture wars are “out of control”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) Photo: YouTube screenshot

Parents in Orange County, Florida, are fed up with the permission slip culture that has been fueled by Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R) Don’t Say Gay bill, which recently required high schoolers to seek parental permission to watch Disney’s Tangled.

While the Don’t Say Gay bill mostly focuses on banning instruction on LGBTQ+ identities through 12th grade, it also mandates parents to sign permission slips for all school-sponsored events that take place before, during, or after school.

As a result, parents have been flooded with permission slips for innocuous events, including Boone High School’s “Rom-com movie night” in which the students voted to watch Tangled, an animated musical retelling of Rapunzel.

“I had to sign a permission slip for my child who could drive himself to see it in a movie theater,” parent Judi Hayes told WFTV. This is just one of dozens of permission slips that Hayes has received this school year, including one to permit her son to attend after-school tutoring.

“It seems like it’s just out of control,” Hayes said. “It’s every single activity. And it’s burdensome on the staff because they have to chase down permission slips, the club’s sponsors are getting frustrated and giving up because it’s too much work.”

Florida parents across the state have endured similar atmospheres, with one Miami-Dade County Public School causing outrage for asking parents to sign permission slips for their children to listen to a reading from a Black author.

Another Miami-Dade school required parents to give permission for students to participate in Black History Month events. The school reportedly stressed that the permission slips have to do with “outside presenters coming into campus,” not with Black History Month. 

In August, the Orange County Public School District even began requiring students to get their parent’s permission if they’d like teachers to refer to them by their nickname. The Don’t Say Gay law requires schools to tell parents when students receive mental health services, which some have interpreted to include calling transgender kids by their preferred names. 

The vagueness of the language in the legislation – which allows parents to sue if they feel the law has been violated – has led to an extreme caution from schools across the state. DeSantis – as well as the state’s GOP lawmakers – have been on a crusade to ban “woke” instruction from public education. 

In addition to the Don’t Say Gay law, the state’s Stop WOKE Act bans “critical race theory” in Florida Schools and has had a devastating impact on teachers’ ability to discuss Black history. The law bans any attempt to “indoctrinate or persuade” students in principles that are not “consistent with specified principles of individual freedom” and also bans any instruction that says that people are responsible for past actions due to their “race, sex, or national origin.”

Additionally, Florida’s 2021 Parents’ Bill of Rights requires schools to have policies that “promote parental involvement in the public school system” and gives parents the power to object to classroom content based on beliefs of “morality, sex, and religion or the belief that such materials are harmful.”

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