Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday went on the offensive against a reporter who tried to label legislation about parental rights as something it is not.
The Parental Rights in Education bill largely focuses on ensuring that parents are informed of any services their children receive at school.
About halfway through the bill, it says, “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.”
Democrats have drawn upon that sentence to attack the GOP legislation as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
On Monday, Evan Donovan, a reporter for WFLA-TV in Tampa, asked DeSantis at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City whether he supported the bill, calling it by its pejorative name.
“Does it say that in the bill?” the Republican governor said.
“Does it say that in the bill?” he said again as the reporter continued to ask his question.
“I’m asking what’s in the bill because you are pushing false narratives. It doesn’t matter what critics say,” DeSantis said.
After Donovan read the relevant section of the bill to DeSantis, the Republican tried to get the reporter to focus on what the language was all about.
“For who?” he said. “For grades pre-K through 3 — so 5-year-olds, 6-year-olds, 7-year-olds.”
DeSantis then said the purpose of the legislation becomes clear when the ages are noted.
“And the idea that you wouldn’t be honest about that and tell people what it actually says, it’s why people don’t trust people like you because you peddle false narratives. And so we just disabused you of those narratives,” the governor said.
He then noted the legislation is designed to allow small children to be protected from what many parents do not want jammed down their throats.
“And we’re going to make sure that parents are able to send their kid to kindergarten without having some of this stuff injected into their school curriculum,” DeSantis said.
— Evan Donovan (@EvanDonovan) March 7, 2022
“How many parents want their kindergarteners to have transgenderism or something injected into classroom instruction?” DeSantis said. “And so I think those are very young kids. I think the legislature is basically trying to give parents assurance that they’re gonna be able to go and this stuff’s not going to be there.”
“But there’s nothing in the bill that says anything about ‘you can’t say’ or ‘this say,'” he said.
“It’s basically saying for our youngest students … do you really want them to be taught about — and this is any sexual stuff, but I think clearly right now, we see a lot of focus on the transgenderism — telling kids that they may be able to pick genders and all that.
“I don’t think parents want that for these young kids, so I think that’s what they were trying to do, and I think that’s justifiable.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.