A Florida Republican lawmaker has introduced a bill to restrict sex education in public schools that would also prohibit younger students from discussing their periods with school officials. The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Stan McClain would restrict public school instruction on human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases and related topics to grades 6 through 12. McClain confirmed at a recent committee meeting that discussions about menstrual cycles would also be restricted to those grades.
During a hearing on Wednesday, State Representative and Democrat Ashley Gantt said: "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?" Responding to Gantt, McClain said: "It would."
On Wednesday, the House Education Quality Subcommittee approved the GOP-backed legislation by a 13-5 vote. It would also permit parents to object to books and other materials their children are exposed to, mandate that schools teach that a person's sexual identity is determined biologically at birth, and set up more scrutiny of certain educational materials by the state Department of Education.
In addition to providing more pathways for parents to object to books or other materials they deem unsuitable for younger children, McClain said the bill's aim is to bring uniformity to sex education throughout all 67 school districts in Florida.
Notably, Gantt was among those who voted against the bill, which she branded 'egregious'. Speaking to the Washington Post after the bill was passed, she said, 'I thought it was pretty remarkable that the beginning of a little girl’s menstrual cycle was not contemplated as they drafted this bill.'