Tallahassee, Fla. (AP) – Legislation moving in the Florida House would ban discussion of the menstrual cycle and other human sexuality topics in elementary grades.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Representative Stan McClain, would limit public school instruction from ages 6 to 12 on human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases and related topics. McClain confirmed at a recent committee meeting that even discussions about menstrual cycles would be limited to those grades.
“So if little girls experience their period in 5th grade or 4th grade, will that stop talking to them because they’re in a grade below sixth grade?” asked state Representative Ashley Gantt, a Democrat who taught in public schools and said girls as young as 10 can start menstruating.
“It will,” McClain replied.
The GOP-backed legislation cleared the House Education Quality Subcommittee on Wednesday by a 13-5 vote largely along party lines. It would also allow parents to object to books and other materials their children are exposed to, require schools to teach that a person’s sexual identity is biologically determined at birth and state Some educational materials are subject to greater scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Education.
McClain said the bill is intended to bring uniformity in sex education across all 67 school districts in Florida and provide more avenues for parents to object to books or other materials they find inappropriate for young children.
At the committee meeting, Gant asked whether teachers could face punishment for discussing menstruation with young students.
“My concern is that they will not feel safe interacting with these little girls,” she said.
McClain said the bill “would not be intended” and that he was “responsible” for some changes to its language. The measure must be approved by another committee before reaching the floor of the House; One such bill is pending in the Senate.
An email seeking comment was sent Saturday to the office of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely seen as a possible 2024 presidential nominee.