Florida Bill: Restoring the Parents of Rights

Parents Helping Child With Schoolwork
sofatutor, Unsplash

The Florida legislature just passed HB1557, and Governor DeSantis swiftly signed it into law. Contrary to popular belief, this bill does nothing to prohibit free speech in accordance with the First Amendment. It is also not a bill designed by “homophobic right-wing religious fanatics” who supposedly hate gay people. This bill pays homage to the fact that parents, not the government, are the primary custodians and authority of their children. It protects the rights of parents to decide if, when, and how certain topics relating to sex, gender, and sexuality are introduced and discussed with their children. 

Keep in mind that the bill only addresses this issue with students in kindergarten through third grade. That means that public school teachers, who are government employees, still reserve the right to discuss such sensitive topics as gender and queer theory, homosexuality, and gender dysphoria with students as young as 9 and 10 years old. So, while this is a step in the right direction, it is hardly the victory to end this controversy. It is hardly the rock-solid peace of mind that most parents want when it comes to this issue. 

Of course, there are those in opposition to this law who do not see the harm in hyper-sexualizing children at the hands of strangers. One wonders if there is not something lurking in their past that causes them to want to invite company to their misery. Either that or they truly have no concept of child development or the damage it does to the innocence of childhood. 

There is one group that knows very well what the danger and agenda is for those who insist on introducing topics relating to sex into the world of a young child. Victims of childhood sexual abuse can tell you with certainty that there is nothing benign or innocent about this. When it is normalized, children become desensitized to it.

Proponents will tell you that open communication about this in schools is a safety measure for children who are questioning their sexuality and might have “unaccepting parents.” It is important to consider the incredibly small percentage of children who are even thinking about sex or sexuality — let alone questioning it — especially as it pales in comparison to the number of children sexually abused by adults who prey on the innocent. It is also vital to note that schools still do not have the right to usurp the authority of parents or undermine the beliefs and values of the family. 

I hope Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill is just the beginning of the restoration of the way things are meant to be structured: parents instilling morals and values in their children while schools educate their students in academics. Not only do I hope this shifts things in Florida, but I hope it has a ripple effect across the nation. 

Beanie Geoghegan
Beanie Geoghegan is the Chapter Lead for No Left Turn in Education KY. She is a former teacher and reading interventionist and is the mother of four grown readers, writers, and independent thinkers.