USA TODAY International Edition
Florida GOP bill could ban girls’ conversations about menstruation before sixth grade
As local bills on gender, sexuality and diversity make their way through Florida’s state legislature, new legislation could ban any discussion of menstrual cycles in school before the sixth grade.
That breaks from the advice of medical providers who recommend talking to children about puberty and changes in their bodies before they occur.
First periods typically start between ages 10 and 15 but can begin as young as 9 years old. That means a student could likely be in third grade up to tenth grade, or later when a period begins.
During a subcommittee hearing in the Florida House on Wednesday, Republican state Rep. Stan McClain said his bill would include restrictions on girls talking about their menstrual cycles. The legislation doesn’t specifically mention periods or menstruation but McClain told a subcommittee hearing that it would include restrictions on conversations about girls’ menstrual cycles.
Bill would ban discussion of periods before sixth grade
House Bill 1069 would only permit “instruction in acquired immune deficiency syndrome, sexually transmitted diseases, or health education” only in grades six through 12.
Democratic state Rep. Ashley Gantt noted that girls could start their periods earlier than the sixth grade and asked for clarification on if the bill would ban those girls from talking about them.
“Does this bill prohibit conversations about menstrual cycles because we know that typically, the age is between 10 and 15,” Gantt asked. “So if little girls experience their menstrual cycle in fifth grade or fourth grade, would that prohibit conversations from them?”
McClain confirmed that the bill’s language would do exactly that: “It would” McClain responded.
Legislation against ‘ woke ideology’
The bill is one of the latest in a series that are expected to be signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as he seeks to transform Florida’s education system in his fight against what he calls “woke ideology.”
The legislation that DeSantis has signed so far has included barring transgender student- athletes from participating in school sports and new restrictions on discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in school classrooms.
It’s a strategy that is also being used by Republicans in Congress, with the House this week expected to vote on the “Parents Bill of Rights,” a legislation effort in direct response to parents who have been seeking more authority over their children’s education during the pandemic.