Florida GOP representative takes issue with proposed new sex education bill that would ban girls in fourth and fifth grade from talking about periods in school
- Stan McClain admitted that his proposals would affect fourth and fifth graders if they talked about menstruation
- He wants to ensure that only children in sixth grade and above can receive sex education, with his bill passing by a strong 13-5 vote
- McClain says he would be open to an amendment that would allow girls to talk about periods in school
A Florida state representative has admitted that his bill to address school sex education would ban girls from discussing periods.
Stan McClain, a Republican representing Ocala, admitted that the proposals to ban children under sixth grade from taking sex classes would ban girls in fourth and fifth grade from discussing menstruation.
State Representative Ashley Gantt, a Democrat, asked at a hearing Wednesday, “So if little girls experience their menstrual cycles in fifth or fourth grade, will that prohibit conversations with them since they’re in grades below sixth grade?”
McClain replied, “It would.” He later tried to argue that the bill was not intended to punish fourth- or fifth-grade girls who came to their teachers with problems or concerns about periods.
Stan McClain is pictured in Tallahassee on Wednesday as he admitted his new bill to crack down on sex education would ban fourth and fifth grade girls from talking about periods
Ashley Gantt took on McClain on his bill, which eventually passed by a 13 to 5 majority
The legislator said he would also be “responsive” to amendments if proposed.
Despite the controversy, McClain’s bill passed by a comfortable 13-to-5 majority.
Gantt was among those who voted against the bill, which she called “blatant.”
Speaking to the Washington Post after the bill passed, she said, “I thought it was pretty remarkable that the start of a little girl’s menstrual cycle wasn’t considered when they drafted this bill.”
McClain’s legislation, whose full title is House Bill 1069, prohibits sex education below sixth grade, when children are 11 to 12 years old.
Girls can start having periods as early as eight years old, with doctors reporting a major uptick in girls starting puberty early during COVID.
Bill 1069 also prohibits teaching about issues such as sexually transmitted diseases and human sexuality below the sixth grade.
It was further condemned as “ridiculous” by Planned Parenthood, of which Florida spokeswoman Annie Filkowski said, “This bill shines a bright light on the continued thirst for power and control of Florida’s political leaders.”
McClain says he would be open to an amendment to his bill that would allow fourth- and fifth-grade girls to talk about periods in school
Florida is at the forefront of conservative efforts to reshape education.
Last year, Governor Ron DeSantis’ Parental Rights in Education bill caused huge controversy, but was eventually passed.
The so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law prohibits instruction on gender and sexuality issues from kindergarten through third grade.
Disney’s outspoken opposition to the bill caused DeSantis — touted as a likely 2024 presidential candidate — to remove the entertainment giant’s self-governing status at its Orlando resort.
Florida is also now seeking to ban doctors and nurses from providing so-called gender-affirming care to children who identify as transgender.
That includes puberty blockers and top surgeries – mastectomies.
DeSantis and the proponents of the proposals say that under-18s should not be allowed to make potentially permanent changes to their bodies that they may later regret.
Critics of those proposals say helping transgender children get physically closer to the gender they identify as does wonders for their mental health.
American medical agencies echo this belief — but more liberal nationals, including the United Kingdom and Norway, have drastically cut back on medical interventions for young trans children.
Instead, they are now focusing on providing therapy to young people to ensure those who say they are trans understand the full implications of medical treatment.