Shakespeare Censored In Florida Schools

To say gay, or not to say gay.

Thanks to Ron DeSantis’ newly expanded Don’t Say Gay law, English teachers in Florida are being forced to cut parts of William Shakespeare’s works from their lessons.

The Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed as Don’t Say Gay, originally barred discussion of LGBTQ+ identities from kindergarten through to third grade. Don’t Say Gay was expanded on March 31 and prohibits discussion on gender and sexuality until eighth grade, and on reproductive health until 12th grade. The law also places limitations on lessons and material that “contain pornography or obscene depictions of sexual conduct.”

Now, the Hillsborough County schools district, in accordance with the law, will limit what their students can read from Shakespeare’s most-famous works.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Tanya Arja, a spokeswoman for the school district, said that the change had been implemented because of new state teaching standards, new state exams and because of governor DeSantis’ expanded law.

In the past, students were required to read two complete Shakespeare classics. Now, they’ll have to read one full work and excerpts from five to seven different plays, sonnets or poetry.

If they want to explore more of Shakespeare’s work, they may do so on their own time.

Shakespeare’s works, although they can be difficult to decipher, are full of sexual innuendo.

Joseph Cool, a reading teacher at Gaither High School, told the The Tampa Bay Times that “some raunchiness in Shakespeare” was part of what made him popular.

Cool taught Macbeth to his 10th-grade students last year. “It gave them a sense of connection between stuff that happened in the past and things that are not necessarily in the past.”

Some historians believe that Shakespeare was queer.

The Don’t Say Gay bill has affected other courses across the state as well. On August 3, Florida’s Department of Education ruled that AP psychology classes were a violation of the law due their inclusion of LGBTQ+ content.

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