Florida wants to ban young students from learning about periods or HIV: ‘Absurd’

Republican Stan McClain

A proposed Florida bill that would limit young girls from discussing gender, HIV, sexuality and periods in school has been condemned by sexual healthcare organisations as “absurd”.

The proposed law – House Bill 1069 – from Republican Stan McClain would mean vital lessons in “acquired immune deficiency syndrome, sexually transmitted diseases, health education” and menstrual cycles to grades six through 12, would only be permitted to students aged 12 to 18.

Annie Filkowski, policy and political director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, called the proposed law “absurd”.

In a video of a debate on the bill posted to Instagram, state representative Ashley Gantt described the proposed law as a “regressive bill in our education” and said it would “deny elementary school students from understanding that people touching them in inappropriate places is not OK”.

The Democrat also highlighted concerns that the bill will cause children to be “ignorant of their bodies”.

“Imagine a little girl in fourth grade, going to the bathroom and finding blood in her panties and thinking that she is dying.”

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She continued: “She doesn’t actually know what’s going on. And her teacher does not even have the ability to tell her that this is a part of life.”

“So if little girls experience their menstrual cycle in 5th grade or 4th grade, will that prohibit conversations from them since they are in the grade lower than sixth grade?” asked Gantt, to which McClain responded: “It would.”

Gantt highlighted that school should be a safe place and the bill would deny children the right to be informed. 

Following Gantt’s questions, McClain said he was open to amending the bill.

McClain’s bill would also require schools to teach that “sex is determined by biology and reproductive function at birth” and “these reproductive roles are binary, stable and unchangeable”.

McClain defended the bill, stating that it would make sex education more uniform statewide and give parents more leverage over what their children are taught. 

Planned Parenthood condemned the law and said it would take “total control from local school districts in approving sex ed curriculum and give it to the State Department of Education”.

The healthcare organisation described it as presenting “reductive and binary view of sex” and warned that it would “stigmatise LGBTQ students”, the Guardian reported. 

Filkowski said: “This bill shines a bright light on Florida’s political leaders’ perpetual thirst for power.” 

The bill passed the subcommittee by 13 votes to five. 

The regressive proposal comes amid a flood of laws limiting discussions of gender, sexuality and diversity in US schools.

In January this year, Florida governor Ron DeSantis was accused of going from ‘Don’t Say Gay’ to ‘Don’t Say Black’ after banning a high school course on African American history.

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