A new Missouri bill says that “no nurse, counselor, teacher, principal, contracted personnel, or other administrative official at a public or charter school shall discuss gender identity or sexual orientation with a minor student” unless they’re a licensed mental health care provider and have a guardian’s permission. This bill goes even farther than Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law– Floria’s law restricts classroom discussion on gender identity and orientation from kindergarten to grade 3, while Missouri’s bill does not specify an age group, therefore banning the conversations across the educational spectrum.
Republican state Sen. Mike Moon said the bill is “hoping to not spur the conversations, or just stay away from it altogether” and he is “hopeful” it won’t interfere with content about history, social studies and other subjects, according to the Springfield News-Leader. “This is protecting vulnerable children and attempting to protect them from conversations that need to be had with the approval of the parent and potentially at home,” he told a Senate education committee.
Democratic state Sen. Greg Razer called the bill the “most disrespectful” one he has seen since taking office in 2017. Razer is Missouri’s only openly gay state senator, and acknowledged that the bill would restrict teachers in Kansas City from teaching student’s about an openly gay leader in Missouri.
“The recent ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill that passed in Florida was step one in erasing conversations about gender identity and sexual orientation within grade school curriculum,” PROMO Missouri, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, said in a statement. “Missouri is taking the next giant leap by aiming to stop faculty, staff, and students from talking about these and related topics at all.”
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