Gov. DeSantis Defends Parental Rights, Criticizes Political Advocacy in Florida Classrooms


After The Florida Capital Star discovered the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) removed links that promoted LGBTQ advocacy groups, gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried said the move was “unacceptable”, “dangerous”, and “cruel for cruelty’s sake.”

However, Governor DeSantis, through a spokesperson, told The Florida Capital Star that “the classroom is not the place for political advocacy. Anti-bullying resources should be supportive and educational, not partisan or ideologically driven. No one deserves to be bullied in school, regardless of orientation, gender, race, or any other characteristic.”

The Governor’s Office added, “We recently became aware that some links on the webpage were directing visitors to advocacy groups pushing progressive agenda that subordinates parents’ rights to radical left-wing ideology. Governor DeSantis will always stand up for parents’ rights to make decisions for their own kids — especially when it comes to their child’s education. As a dad, Governor DeSantis believes that parents, not activists or politicians, know what’s best for their own kids.

“This is unacceptable, period,” Fried said. “LGBTQ+ youth face elevated risks of suicide and homelessness, with 29% of 13-24 year old LGBTQ+ folks having experienced homelessness. These resources provide support to our kids and this is cruelty for cruelty’s sake.”

Later yesterday afternoon, Fried’s agriculture department sent out a press release with Fried providing additional comments to the removal of the links, calling DeSantis’ administration “harmful” to LGBT youth.

“This is yet another example of Governor DeSantis ignoring and erasing the needs of the LGBTQ community in our state,” Fried said. “LGBTQ students experience higher rates of bullying and suicide, and as a result it is crucial that state leaders do everything in our power to advocate for these students and provide them with these important resources to foster a safe learning environment for all. This is a dangerous move by the DeSantis Administration and unfortunately continues the Governor’s troubling trend of undermining policies intended to keep Florida students safe.”

According to an archive provided by Fried’s press release, the resources and links removed from FDOE’s website were bullying prevention resources. A total of five links specifically referenced LGBT-related bullying with links to external groups.

FDOE has not said when the review of the web page will be completed.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips. 

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