Miami, United States.- A bill in the Florida House of Representatives seeks to ban discussion of menstrual cycles and other topics related to human sexuality in elementary grades.
Republican Rep. Stan McClain’s bill would restrict public school teaching on human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases and related topics, in grades 6 through 12.
McClain confirmed at a recent committee meeting that discussions of menstrual cycles would also be restricted to those grades.
“So if little girls experience their menstrual cycle in fifth or fourth grade, will that prohibit them from having conversations since they’re a grade lower than sixth grade?” asked state Rep. Ashley Gantt, a Democrat who taught in public schools, noting that girls as young as 10 can start having periods. “I would,” McClain replied.
The GOP-backed legislation passed the House Education Quality Subcommittee Wednesday with a vote of 13-5, mostly along party lines.
It would also allow parents to object to the books and other materials their children are exposed to, require schools to teach that a person’s sexual identity is determined biologically at birth, and establish greater scrutiny of certain educational materials by the Department. of State Education.
McClain said the intent of the bill is to standardize sex education across Florida’s 67 school districts and provide more avenues for parents to object to books or other materials they deem inappropriate for younger children.
At the committee meeting, Gantt asked if teachers could face punishment if they discuss menstruation with younger students. “My concern is that they won’t feel safe having those conversations with these little girls,” she said.
McClain asserted that “that would not be the intent” of the bill and that he is “open” to some changes to its language. The measure must be approved by another committee before it can go to the full House; a similar bill is pending in the Senate.
An email seeking comment was sent Saturday to the office of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely viewed as a possible 2024 presidential candidate.