Ohio House Republicans introduced an education bill this week that would prohibit teaching young students about sexual orientation or gender identity, similar to a divisive bill in Florida — dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill — that wasin March. The bill also targets what it calls "divisive" education about race, banning lessons about topics like critical race theory and the New York Times' "1619 Project."
The bill, sponsored by Representatives Mike Loychik and Jean Schmidt, would prohibit schools from teaching, using or providing "any curriculum or instructional materials on sexual orientation or gender identity" for students in kindergarten through third grade. For older students, schools would be forbidden from teaching, using or providing such material "in any manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."
If passed, the legislation would also provide an avenue for parents to file complaints against educators they feel have violated the rule, which could result in punishment ranging from admonishment to the revocation of their teaching license.
"Curriculum about gender identity and sexuality has no place in K-3 classrooms, period," Loychik said Monday.
The language in the bill is very similar to that of Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" law, which mandates that "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."
Florida's bill was heavily criticized by LGBTQ+ activists, who argued it would make schools less inclusive, welcoming and safe for children.
Ohio's bill also prohibits teaching "any divisive or inherently racist concept," following in the footsteps of lawmakers in other states who have tried toabout racism in schools. As examples, Ohio's bill lists lessons about critical race theory, intersectional theory, diversity, equity and inclusion learning outcomes and inherited racial guilt. It would also prohibit teaching the Pulitzer-winning "1619 Project."
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