Leftists are targeting Florida once again, this time by lying about a new law they say will make it illegal for teachers and students to discuss menstruation in school. But a closer look at the legislation shows this to be flatly untrue.
The bill in question, HB1069, aims to set specific definitions for sex, gender, and sexuality for early learning in the state’s schools.
But during a Florida House Education Quality Subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Democrat Rep. Ashley Gant found one section of the bill to be vague and asked the bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Stan McClain, if it would prevent younger children in K through 5th from talking about girls having periods.
At issue is lines 67 through 71, reading, “Throughout instruction in acquired immune deficiency syndrome, sexually transmitted diseases, or health education, when such instruction and course material contains instruction in human sexuality, such instruction may only occur in grades 6 through 12.”
The clause worried Rep. Gant.
“So, if little girls experience their menstrual cycle in fifth grade or fourth grade, will that prohibit conversations from them since they are in the grade lower than sixth grade?” Gant said during the discussion of the bill, according to The Washington Post.
In reply, McClain said, “It would.”
Watch Florida State Rep. @StanMcClain tell Rep. @Gantt4Florida that his bill prohibits young people from talking about their period….
— Florida Planned Parenthood Action (@PPactionFL) March 15, 2023
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Gant was shocked over the issue. She told the paper that the bill was “egregious,” and added, “I thought it was pretty remarkable that the beginning of a little girl’s menstrual cycle was not contemplated as they drafted this bill.”
The Post then adds that McClain’s bill is about “Restricting girls from talking about their periods in school.”
Unsurprisingly, this brief and misleading exchange is becoming the focus of those who oppose the legislation and who say that banning little girls from engaging in discussions about periods is outrageous. And that might be true if the legislation actually did that. But the truth is, it doesn’t.
The bill only concerns itself with in-class instruction about sexuality. It has nothing at all to do with students discussing periods with each other. And it doesn’t set out to punish teachers if such a question is asked and answered in class.
So, the alarm over this section of the bill is based on lies. It’s an unfortunate tactic, but one that Florida Republicans, like Gov. Ron DeSantis, have had to deal with over and over again.
The brief video seen above put out by opponents of the bill also ignores the longer discussion of the topic heard on the audio recorded by the House during the debate.
For instance, at about 39:30 on the audio, McClain made it clear that the bill concerns in-class instruction delivered by teachers, not casual discussions among students, when he noted that the bill “limits instruction in sexuality to students in grade 6 through 12.”
Notice that McClain said “instruction,” and focusing on what was appropriate for kids, not the mere “conversations” of which Gant was speaking.
There was also a follow up discussion about the bill during the debate Wednesday, one that the critics and the Washington Post did not add to their analysis. At about 45:20 into the audio, McClain reiterates that the bill is focused on classroom instruction, not kids talking to kids.
The point was made when Gant spoke up again and asked if students would be barred from speaking of their periods.
The Democrat said, “Regarding the menstrual cycles and not being able to speak about it, will teachers be penalized if, for instance, their students get the menstrual cycle in school and they don’t know what to do? Because that’s a very real reality for little girls, and my concern is that they won’t feel safe in school to have those conversations with these little girls. I’m very, very concerned about that.”
McClain answered matter-of-factly, “We haven’t contemplated that, but that would not be the intent of the bill.”
In other words, there is no provisions at all to punish anyone for talking about a menstrual cycle with a girl who is in a grade under sixth. The bill is only concerned with formal instruction about sex and gender.
Gant then went on to ask if McClain would be amenable to adjusting the language and adding any amendments to cover the issue that concerned the Democrat.
In reply, McClain said, “I would be. I would be amenable to have that conversation about it in context with what we are trying to achieve with the bill.”
So, when all was said and done, the Republican sponsoring the bill made clear that there are no penalties for teachers who are put in a position of talking to a little girl about her period. Nor does the bill ban little girls from talking about periods among themselves. And the bill is really only concerned with the formal instruction of sexuality, not casual conversations. Further, he is perfectly fine with adding language to the bill to clarify the point.
The alarm raised by The Washington Post and the Democrat activist groups is entirely built on lies. No one is trying to ban little girls from talking about their periods in Florida’s schools.
Read More: Fact Check: FL Bill Does NOT Prevent Girls From Talking About Periods