Florida period bill: Republican Stan McClain sponsors bill to ban girls from talking about period in elementary grades

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Sunday, March 19, 2023 3:12 AM

ABC7 Chicago 24/7 Stream

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Legislation passed in Florida would ban discussion of the menstrual cycle and other topics related to human sexuality in elementary grades.

The bill, sponsored by Republican Congressman Stan McClain, would restrict the teaching of human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases and related topics in public schools from grades 6 to 12. McClain confirmed at a recent committee meeting that discussion of menstrual cycles would also be limited to these classes.

“So if little girls start their menstrual cycle in 5th or 4th grade, would that prevent them from talking because they are in grade below 6th?” asked State Rep. Ashley Gant, a Democrat who has taught in public schools and noted that girls as young as 10 can start their period.

“It would,” McClane replied.

The GOP-backed legislation approved the House Education Quality Subcommittee on Wednesday by a vote of 13 to 5, mostly along party lines. It would also allow parents to object to the books and other materials their children are exposed to, require schools to teach that a person’s sexual identity is biologically determined at birth, and place some educational materials under closer scrutiny by the State Department of Education.

McClain said the bill’s goal is to ensure that sex education is consistent across all of Florida’s 67 school districts and to give parents more power to object to books or other materials they deem inappropriate for younger children.

At a committee meeting, Gant asked if teachers could face punishment if they discussed menstruation with younger students.

“My concern is that they won’t feel safe talking to these little girls,” she said.

McClain said that “that would not be the purpose” of the bill and that he “agreed” to some changes to its wording. The measure must be approved by another committee before it goes to the House of Representatives; a similar bill is pending in the Senate.

On Saturday, an email was sent to the office of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, widely seen as a potential 2024 presidential nominee, asking for comment.

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