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Gov. Ron DeSantis is moving forward to expand the “Don’t Say Gay” law through 12th grade without legislative approval. 

“Despite a year’s worth of gaslighting and assurances that the Don’t Say LGBTQ law was narrowly focused, DeSantis is again weaponizing a state agency to expand his right-wing agenda of censorship, book banning, and the character assassination of Florida teachers,” said Brandon Wolf, press secretary for Equality Florida. “The Board of Education’s proposed rule would see more books with LGBTQ characters ripped from school shelves, more discussion of diverse families muzzled, and educators at risk of losing their licenses for acknowledging the existence of LGBTQ people — at every grade level.”

According to the Associated Press the state Education Department has put forth a proposal that is scheduled for a vote next month before the state Board of Education. Both agencies are led by appointees of the governor.

“The rule change would ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from grades 4 to 12, unless required by existing state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction that students can choose not to take,” the AP writes.

There is already a bill making its way through the legislature that would expand the controversial Parental Rights in Education law, commonly known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law. That proposal would bar topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity through the eighth grade.

It’s unclear why the governor is moving forward on his own.

Wolf continued: “Free states don’t ban books. Free states don’t censor history. Free states don’t copy/paste their political agendas from the likes of Vladimir Putin. This proposed rule is yet more government power being perverted to serve Ron DeSantis’ desperation to run for President.”