Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed the controversial Parental Rights in Education bill, aka the "Don't Say Gay," into law,” ABC News reports.
"We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination," DeSantis said before signing the bill Monday.
"I think the last couple years have really revealed to parents that they are being ignored increasingly across our country when it comes to their kids education,” he continued. “We have seen curriculum embedded for very, very young children, classroom materials about sexuality and woke gender ideology. We've seen libraries that have clearly inappropriate pornographic materials for very young kids."
The bill effectively bans classroom lessons on gender identity or sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, and states that any instruction on those topics cannot occur "in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards," the HB 1557 legislation read.
Additionally, the bill states that the Florida Department of Education must update its standards to meet requirements.
The legislation gives parents the option to decline "any mental, emotional, and physical health services available to their children at school, and schools will be required to notify parents of their child's use of school health services unless there is reason to believe that disclosure would subject the student to abuse, abandonment or neglect."
Parents could file lawsuits against their school districts if they believe there is a violation of any of these requirements or restrictions.
Criticism of the bill has sprung up across the country with activists claiming the legislation would force the LGBTQ+ community to suppress their gender identity or sexual orientation.
"Let us be clear: Should its vague language be interpreted in any way that causes harm to a single child, teacher or family, we will lead legal action against the State of Florida to challenge this bigoted legislation," the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Florida said in a statement.
The Biden administration has denounced the bill and met with LGBTQ+ youth and their families in the state.
"Laws around the country, including in Florida, have targeted and sought to bully some of our most vulnerable students and families and create division in our schools," Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement."My message to you is that this administration won't stand for bullying or discrimination of any kind, and we will use our authorities to protect, support, and provide opportunities for LGBTQI+ students and all students."
The bill is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2022.