COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill has made its way to the Ohio Statehouse.
Two Republican state lawmakers introduced House Bill 616 on Tuesday to prohibit schools from teaching about “divisive or inherently racist concepts” – including sexual orientation and gender identity for students between kindergarten and third grade, according to the bill’s text.
The wording is similar to Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last week. Opponents referred to it as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and businesses such as The Walt Disney Company have said they will work to repeal it.
The wording is also similar to an earlier “divisive concepts” bill in Ohio that was criticized by educator groups and others. That bill is currently stalled in the House State and Local Government committee.
For older students between the fourth and twelfth grade, HB 616 would require any instruction about LGBTQ-related topics to be taught in an age-appropriate way, the bill reads.
In addition to barring curriculum related to sexual orientation and gender identity, the bill prohibits the following:
- Critical race theory
- Intersectional theory
- The 1619 Project
- Diversity, equity and inclusion learning outcomes
- Inherited racial guilty
Teachers who discuss any of the “divisive concepts” in the bill are subject to an investigation conducted by the school’s superintendent and are prohibited from receiving credits required to renew their teaching license, according to the bill.
Depending on the severity of a violation, HB 616 would authorize the Ohio Department of Education from withholding funds from the district, the bill reads.
Introduced by Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) and Rep. Mike Loychik (R-Bazetta), HB 616 marks the third time a bill prohibiting the instruction of “divisive concepts” in Ohio school has been introduced in the Statehouse. Schmidt and Loychik were not immediately available for comment on the bill.