Settlement Reached in Florida’s 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act

By Jerry McConway, updated on March 12, 2024

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took down a rather significant win this week.

A settlement agreement regarding the 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act has been made, leaving the bulk of the bill intact.

Talking Points…
- The 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act
- Settlement Reached, DeSantis Reaction
- Analysis

The 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act

When Governor DeSantis signed the 2022 Parental Rights in Education Act, liberals, and Democrats were immediately up in arms over the bill, stating that it was an attack against the LGBTQ+ community, eventually dubbing the legislation the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, even though nowhere in the legislation did it state that “gay” could not be mentioned.

The critical element of the legislation was to stop classroom instruction regarding gender identity and sexual orientation in K-3 classrooms. Basically, the bill wanted conversations to be age-appropriate, giving parents the ultimate authority in deciding when these conversations were held with their children.

Governor DeSantis's Reaction to Settlement

On Monday, it was announced that a settlement had been reached, with some of the language getting toned down to pacify the LGBTQ+ advocates that were fighting the new law. In the settlement that was reached, teachers and students can now discuss sexual orientation and gender identity, but it cannot be part of classroom instruction.

The plaintiffs viewed this as a win, but what they actually won was not really a win. Roberta Kaplan, attorney for the plaintiffs, stated:

“Simply put, the State of Florida has now made it clear that L.G.B.T.Q.+ kids, parents and teachers in Florida can, in fact, say that they are gay.”

DeSantis’ office also declared victory with the settlement, with state general counsel Ryan Newman stating:

“We fought hard to ensure this law couldn’t be maligned in court, as it was in the public arena by the media and large corporate actors.

“We are victorious, and Florida’s classrooms will remain a safe place under the Parental Rights in Education Act.”

One of the plaintiffs in the case, Cecile Houry, was grateful the language was cleared up so teachers and children knew what they could discuss. She stated:

“It’s going to make a huge difference because the law was so vague that people stayed away from everything.

“Here it really defines what is not allowed, and everything else that is allowed. It’s going to change students’ experience.”

Analysis

DeSantis made it quite clear early on that this was not about a student going to a teacher for counsel, only that the parents had the right to know if their child was coming out as gay or curious about sexual orientation. I think any sane person would say that the parents have the right to know if the child is struggling with this.

The bill was about ensuring only age-appropriate conversations were taking place regarding classroom instruction, and this settlement leaves that intact, so I have to give DeSantis the nod for the win here. I also credit him for clarifying the language to make this law a non-issue as we move forward. DeSantis is the big winner here, but this is something where everyone walks away from the table feeling victorious, and that, after all, is the art of the deal.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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