Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law inspires proposed legislation in Ohio

House Bill 616 would prohibit the teaching or provision of “any curriculum or instructional materials on sexual orientation or gender identity” to students in kindergarten through third grade, using language similar to that of the Florida provision.

The bill also goes a step further than the recently passed Florida law, which prohibits Ohio public school educators in grades 4 through 12 from teaching or using “instructional materials on sexual orientation or gender identity of any way that is not age or developmentally appropriate. students according to state standards.” The text of the drafted bill does not specify what “age-appropriate” or “developmentally appropriate” material might qualify.

The proposed legislation positions Ohio to potentially join a string of Republican-led states pushing legislation that many opponents say is potentially harmful to LGBTQ children and young adults.
One of the bill’s sponsors, State Representative Mike Loychik, tweeted on Tuesday that “gender identity and sexuality curriculum has no place in K-3 classrooms, period. That’s why I just introduced a bill to ban sexuality and gender identity curriculum through third grade in Ohio.

The bill would also ban curriculum for all grades that may teach, promote or endorse what it calls “divisive or inherently racist concepts.” Ban any textbook, instructional material, or academic curriculum that “promotes” concepts including critical race theory, intersectional theory, the 1619 Project, diversity, equity, and inclusion learning outcomes, racial guilt inherited or “any other concept that the state board of education defines as divisive or inherently racist.”

Under the bill, members of the public could file complaints against school employees alleging violations of the law. An accused educator would be entitled to a hearing on the allegations, but may be disciplined if she is found to have violated the law and school districts may lose state funding as a result.

Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro told CNN Tuesday that the bill’s broad language could significantly hamper educators’ approach to certain issues, for fear of losing their jobs.

“I think it’s probably by design, that they just want to instill fear, that if you’re wondering whether or not something can be considered controversial, divisive or illegal under this legislation, the safest bet is to just not talk about it at all. And that’s the real damage that is caused because that deprives our students of a full and honest education,” DiMauro said.

DiMauro said the union is against the proposed measure and will actively work against it if it gains traction within the state legislature.

LGBT groups and Democrats strongly criticized the proposed bill.

“Ohio’s Don’t Say Gay bill is yet another insidious attempt to cool down and censor free speech in the classroom. Lawmakers are trying to erase LGBTQ+ people and skew history in their favor,” said Director Equality Ohio executive Alana Jochum.

“Attacks like these are the product of a small minority of people pushing their agenda to dismantle diversity at all costs, and in the process endangering educators and families for political gain. Equality Ohio vehemently opposes the House Bill 616, and we will work tirelessly to prevent it from creeping into our classrooms.”

When asked about the bill Tuesday, Ohio House Minority Leader Allison Russo condemned the bill as “disgusting” legislation.

“Well, my opinion is that it’s a disgusting bill, it legitimizes bigotry and I think every time we see legislation being introduced, this to me speaks to the extremism that continues to run rampant in this state house and we can’t continue to grow economically as a state.” “. , do the right thing by our Ohio families if we don’t embrace our diversity and make sure this state is inclusive of all Ohioans,” Russo said.

The bill did not appear to have any action scheduled as of Tuesday night, according to the state legislative website.

Leave a Comment