Alabama Hopes To Expand Its Own 'Don't Say Gay' Bill To 12th Grade

“Hopefully, this will send the message that it’s inappropriate for the instructors, the teachers, to teach sexual orientation and gender identity," a sponsor of the bill said.

A bill that would prohibit classroom discussions or instruction related to gender identity or sexual orientation in Alabama public schools through 12th grade is headed to the Alabama House of Representatives.

The existing law bars discussions around gender identity or sexual orientation in public schools through fifth grade. This bill is hoping to expand that into 12th grade. The bill also prohibits teachers from displaying a pride flag or any pride decorations.

The bill will be voted on in the House after the House Education Policy Committee approved it. Republicans control both chambers of Alabama state government.

“The members of the Education Policy Committee recognized that our public school classrooms are too often used to discuss controversial lifestyle issues that should be handled at home by parents,” Alabama Rep. Mack Butler (R), who sponsored the bill, said in a statement to HuffPost. “Classrooms were built to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic, not to advocate a transgender agenda or display gay pride flags. Our fundamental Alabama values are under attack, and we must not allow public school classrooms to be used as the battlefield.”

In a statement to HuffPost, the ACLU of Alabama said that expanding the bill from fifth to 12th grade “pushes back education in a state where there is already significant need for our students. If HB130 passes, it will rid classrooms and students in the state of Alabama of inclusive discussion that is essential at all stages of life.”

The bill is similar to other laws, nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” laws. In 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill into law that prohibits classroom instruction around gender and sexual orientation through third grade. Arkansas also prohibits classroom discussion around gender and sexual orientation before fifth grade. North Carolina, Iowa and Indiana also have similar laws.

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