DeSantis Hails Parental Rights In Education Act Court Victory

A recent court ruling concludes a multi-year legal issue between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), the Florida State Board of Education and several progressive groups emboldened by the Biden administration.

In March 2022, Gov. DeSantis led the state to adopt the Parental Rights in Education Act. The bill, CS/CS/HB 1557, prohibited gender ideology instruction for children in kindergarten through third grade.

The bill also banned instruction on gender identity for fourth through 12th graders “if it is deemed not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

The authors of the bill designed it to provide support for parental rights. An excerpt reads: “The Parental Rights in Education [Act will] reinforce the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing & control of their children.”

The bill provides parents with legal recourse if school teachers or administrators disregard bill mandates. An excerpt reads: “Parents are authorized to bring action against the school district to obtain declaratory judgment…[and] additional award of injunctive relief, damages, & reasonable attorney fees & court costs.”

Last March, Gov. DeSantis moved to expand the provisions stipulated in the bill.

Many legacy media outlets and progressive government leaders blasted the bill as condoning prejudice and marginalizing the vulnerable.

Dubiously dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” Act, critics charged DeSantis and Republican officials with harboring anti-LGBT views.

President Biden called the bill “hateful.” Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, told NBC the bill “will kill kids.”

DeSantis staunchly defended the bill — calling critics “misinformed” and challenging reporters to refrain from making salacious and false claims.

Passing the measure was the fulfillment of a 2020 DeSantis gubernatorial campaign promise and an often-cited hallmark legislative victory during DeSantis’ six-month run for the GOP presidential nomination.

Conservatives note that the Florida bill inspired several other red states to push through similar measures. The National Pulse reported that Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and North Carolina have adopted similar laws.

However, critics of the bill asserted that DeSantis and the Florida State Board of Education overstepped their authority in determining what content teachers could present in federally funded schools.

After two years of hearings and deliberation, the court has ruled that the “letter of the law” in Florida’s bill will stand.

However, the Associated Press reported the also court ruled that teachers could entertain “discussions on… orientation and gender identity outside of instruction content.”

Both LGBT groups and DeSantis have hailed the decision as a victory.

Roberta Kaplan, attorney for the plaintiffs in the case, stated, “The last thing we wanted for the kids in Florida was more delay,” adding that she believed the settlement essentially defends the right of every child to receive an “education where they feel safe and respected.”