Far-right Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, signed H.B 1557—also known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill—into law on Monday after months of condemnation regarding the controversial legislation.
While the bill doesn't explicitly ban Florida teachers from saying the word "gay" in the classroom, it bans any "instruction" regarding sexuality or gender for kids from kindergarten to third grade, allowing only "age-appropriate" discussion on the topic after that point.
Critics claim the law will be unevenly applied, allowing discussions of heterosexuality in class while banning discussions of LGBTQ people. They also warn that the environment created by the law would diminish the safety of children struggling with sexuality and gender, limiting their opportunities to discuss these struggles with trusted educators and specialists outside of a potentially unaccepting home.
Despite these criticisms, DeSantis boasted on Twitter about signing the bill into law.
Today, I signed HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Education Act, into law.
It ensures parents can send their kids to kindergarten without gender ideology being injected into instruction and they will be notified and have the right to decline healthcare services offered at schools. pic.twitter.com/OLnW2GLrJl
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 28, 2022
He claimed that parents could now "send their kids to kindergarten without gender ideology being injected into instruction" and promised that parents would be "notified and have the right to decline healthcare services offered at schools."
As he signed legislation promising children wouldn't undergo partisan indoctrination, DeSantis himself was surrounded by a number of Florida schoolchildren.
That irony wasn't lost on anyone.
DeSantis: "Fight back against woke indoctrination"
DeSantis: "Regular indoctrination is fine, get me as many schoolkids as you can find" https://t.co/30tYYa8C7P
— Slade (@Slade) March 28, 2022
Here’s desantis Politicizing children during the signing of an anti-lgbtq bill because he wants to run for president in 2 plus years https://t.co/eID4TqlL5h
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) March 28, 2022
With the children as props and Trump signing choreography. Chilling. https://t.co/ytGQuFBi3y
— Sherrilyn Ifill (@Sifill_LDF) March 28, 2022
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) using these kids as props as he signs the "Don’t Say Gay" bill into law - is a whole new level of disgusting.
— Chris Strider (@stridinstrider) March 28, 2022
This is so disgusting. These poor kids used as props for hate. https://t.co/kBoHyUwrSU
— Beatriz (@Beatrizluthor) March 28, 2022
Same guy who had his little toddler in campaign ads Building a Wall with Lego blocks. Teaching children how to be bigots while insisting they’re too young to learn Black history. https://t.co/gTUnYYeOsv
— THEE Audacity (@ArrogantNBlack) March 28, 2022
Some expressed concern for the children surrounding him.
Are you allowed to tell those kids what you’re protecting them from? https://t.co/VL7Ifwwmfe
— Bob Heaning (@BobHeaning) March 28, 2022
Statistically speaking, one of the kids in this video is gay or trans. Imagine what it is like to the be that kid. https://t.co/XuXJr9TSBj
— Jay Michaelson (@jaymichaelson) March 28, 2022
At least one of these kids is going to end up spending a lot of money on therapy unpacking the fact that their parents allowed them to be used as pawns in the war against gay kids https://t.co/SpXpoorPiJ
— Kendall Brown (@kendallybrown) March 28, 2022
DeSantis is considered a potential candidate for the GOP's 2024 presidential nomination.