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Florida may ban girls in elementary grades from talking about their periods

Florida may ban girls in elementary grades from talking about their periods

Legislation being introduced in the Florida House would ban discussion of menstrual cycles and other topics pertaining to human sexuality in elementary grades.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Representative Stan McClain, would limit public school teaching on human sexuality, STDs, and related topics to grades 6 through 12. McClain confirmed in a recent committee meeting that discussions on menstrual cycles would also be limited to those grades .

“So if little girls experience their menstrual cycle in fifth or fourth grade, will that prevent them from having conversations because they’re in a lower than sixth grade?” asked State Representative Ashley Gantt, a Democrat who taught public schools and noted that girls as young as 10 can start menstruating.

“It will,” replied McClain.

The GOP-backed legislation approved the House Education Quality Subcommittee on Wednesday by a vote of 13 to 5, largely along party lines. It would also allow parents to object to books and other materials their children come into contact with, require schools to teach that a person’s sexual identity is biologically determined at birth, and establish greater scrutiny of certain educational materials by the state Department of Education.

McClain said the intention 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 whether teachers could be punished if they discussed menstruation with younger students.

“I’m afraid they won’t feel safe talking to these little girls,” she said.

McClain said that “that would not be the intention” of the bill and that it was “vulnerable” to some changes to its language. The measure must be approved by another committee before it goes to the House; a similar bill awaits in the Senate.

An email seeking comment was sent Saturday to the office of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who is widely seen as a possible 2024 presidential candidate.

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