Florida Governor Ron DeSantis pushed back on a reporter who was using a controversial nickname created by activists for legislation that would block discussions of “gender identity” and sexual orientation with young students.
While questioning the governor about the bill, the reporter used the nickname created by opponents, prompting condemnation from DeSantis.
“I’m just curious, you call it that, I’ve not seen that in any of these bills. Where is that coming from?” DeSantis asked the reporter. “The question is — you’re in the news business — does the truth matter or not? Is that in any of the bills, yes or no? I understand what you’re doing.”
Journalist: “Do you have a comment on the protests against the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill?”
Gov. DeSantis: “You call it that. I’ve not seen that in any of these bills. Where is that coming from? You’re in the news business. Does the truth matter or not? Is that in any of the bills?” pic.twitter.com/LcpW1k9sKP
— Christina Pushaw 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) March 4, 2022
The governor blasted the media for spinning a narrative about the bill and not being honest about what it actually says.
“You have a responsibility to be honest about it,” he continued. “Yeah, you can create a false narrative, you can stage a protest, you can do all those things. But you’re not telling the truth about what’s actually there. … There’s this massive gulf between what [the bill] actually says with respect to these very young kids versus what some of these protests at the capitol are about.”
The bill reads, “a school district may not encourage 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.”
If a parent believes a school district has violated the policy, they will be permitted to take legal action.
The bill will also ban policies in schools that might lead to withholding information about a child’s mental, emotional or physical health from their parents — unless there is a reasonable belief that the information could lead to abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
The bill has passed the Florida House on February 24.
To become law, the bill just needs to be signed by DeSantis, who has signaled his support for it.
Last month, the governor told reporters that it is “entirely inappropriate” for teachers to be discussing gender identities with students, according to a report from The Hill.
“Schools need to be teaching kids to read, to write,” DeSantis said. “They need to teach them science, history. We need more civics and understanding of the U.S. Constitution, what makes our country unique, all those basic things.”
“You have politicians saying parents have no role in the education of their kids. Give me a break,” he said. “We want parents to be able to have access to what’s going on in the classroom. And certainly, it is inappropriate to be hiding these things from parents.”
“We’ve seen instances of students being told by different folks in school, ‘Oh, well, don’t worry, don’t pick your gender yet, do all this other stuff.’ They won’t tell the parents about these discussions that are happening. That is entirely inappropriate,” DeSantis said.