On Tuesday, one teacher in Florida expressed their anxieties with MSNBC that he will no longer be allowed to talk about his love life with his class of kindergarteners anymore in response to HB 1557.
Cory Bernaert, the teacher in question, spoke on Tuesday to the news that Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, had officially signed the piece of legislation that would ban any and all classroom talks of sexual orientation and gender identity for children that are kindergarten all the way through 3rd grade, which roughly equates to ages 5-9.
“It hits hard in my heart professionally and personally,” he claimed. “Professionally it truly makes me feel like I am not trusted as a professional. I know my kindergarten standards through and through and nowhere in our curriculum does it have anything about teaching sexual orientation or sexual identity.”
“We should be able to have discussions and that’s what we’re encouraged to do in kindergarten” he continued. “My kids do have questions. They want to know who my partner is in pictures outside of my classroom, and I should be able to speak to them.”
“Do you worry that you won’t event be able to talk about your own personal home life?” posited the MSNBC host to the teacher, highlighting that she knows all about the reachers of her children, including about home lives.
“Absolutely,” he exclaimed. “You are 100% correct. That’s what we do as educators, we build relationships with our kids. And in order to build relationships, you talk about your home life, you talk about what you do on the weekends.”
“it scares me that I am not going to be able to have these conversations with my children,” He went on. “because they’re going to ask me what I did on the weekend. I don’t want to have to hide that my partner and I went paddle boarding this weekend.”
The kids will ask, “what does partner mean, Mr. Bernaert?” stated the teacher, before going to ask himself, “Can i tell them what it means?”
He also expressed his concerns about possible situations in which the kids will ask him about one of the students in his class, who he stated has two moms.
“If they go to her and ask her about her two moms and she doesn’t know what to say, they’re going to come to me and ask me,” he stated.
It is stated under Florida HB 1447 that “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
Over the past few weeks, the bill has been attacked and wildly misrepresented as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, despite the fact that as no point in the text of the bill is the word “gay” even mentioned.