Florida’s Parental
Rights in Education Act, dubbed by critics as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law
, has
schoolteachers in a fix. Teachers say the law is too vague and various
interpretations of the law make them vulnerable to lawsuits from parents. The
Parental Rights in Education Act prohibits instruction about sexual orientation

and gender identity from kindergarten to grade 3. A lack of training on
compliance with the law has made life difficult, say teachers.

Michael Woods, a
special education teacher at Florida’s Palm Beach County, used to house a small
classroom library, he told NBC News. After the law came into effect, he has
taken the books down from the shelves and they’re now in a closet, “not helping

Woods says his
library contained nothing controversial. The library included “Twilight,” the “Harry
Potter” series and a book called “Meg,” which is a thriller about a shark. “I
didn’t have any controversial books, but what we keep hearing repeatedly is: ‘Well,
if something happens, you could lose your (state educator’s) license,’” he told

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One of the clauses
of the new Florida law that has teachers worried is that the Act prohibits
instruction that is “not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.” It,
however, does not define age or developmental propriety.

In such a
situation, school districts are left to themselves to figure out compliance
methods. For example, in Woods’ school district in Palm Beach County, there has
been little instruction on the new law. An emailed statement from the
spokesperson of the Palm Beach School District to NBC News states that the
Florida Department of Education has provided information about the parental
rights bill on its resource page.

Meanwhile, different
school districts have taken differing routes to compliance. In northern
Florida, at the Bay District Schools in Panama City, a thorough training video
has been provided to employees. In the video, which was reported about by NBC
News and not independently verified by Opoyi, Heather Hudson, an attorney for
the district, is speaking to teachers about potential areas where the Parental
Rights in Education Act may come into effect.

The video states that
if a student discloses, they are struggling with their sexuality to their
teachers, a teacher would have to inform parents only “if there is a change in
the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional
or physical well-being and the school’s ability to provide a safe and
supportive learning environment for the student.”

This means if
students inform their school counsellors that they want to use different
pronouns or seek to access different restrooms or locker rooms, “then we’re
getting into the territory of monitoring and services, and your school administrators
need to be brought into the conversation, and we probably need to be having a
conversation with the family,” the attorney in the video states.

While Hudson’s
video uses the exact word of the law, it is unclear if all school administrators
will follow them. There are schools that have decided to pull all LGBTQ
literature in order to comply with the law, according to Jon Harris Matter,
public policy director of Equality Florida, a state-wide LGBTQ advocacy group
who spoke to NBC News.