Lie from the AP altered, spread through NowThis and Vice

March 24, 2023

By Tim Worstall

The Associated Press claimed this week that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is going to ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from being taught in Florida’s schools. This is entirely untrue. Here is a reprint of the AP piece at NowThis:

“The rule change would ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from grades 4 to 12.”

Here’s the same piece (lightly rewritten) at Vice:

“Florida is moving to ban most classroom instruction on sexuality and gender in public schools through the entire K-12 system, just the latest “anti-woke” culture war move from likely 2024 presidential candidate Gov. Ron DeSantis.”

That’s not what is being done at all. Here is the full and direct AP piece:

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ′ administration is moving to forbid classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades…”

Simply not true, not in the slightest. Most people read headlines and the first paragraph or two at most, Which is why the walk-back is buried a few paragraphs in — so that it’s possible to be misleading but still provide plausible deniability. That later admission:

“The rule change would ban lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity from grades 4 to 12, unless required by existing state standards or as part of reproductive health instruction that students can choose not to take.”

The change doesn’t ban anything. It doesn’t ban teaching on sexuality, sexual orientation or gender identity. It just says that discussion and teaching on these points should be done in classes that deal with sex, sexual identity, orientation and gender identity.

We’ll teach these things in the classes devoted to these things. This is not the same as banning their discussion or their teaching.

After all, that we don’t teach math in French doesn’t mean we’ve banned the teaching of French (or math), and that we don’t teach chemistry in sex ed doesn’t mean we don’t teach chemistry. But apparently to Associated Press, the idea that we teach sex ed in sex ed classes is the same as banning the teaching of sex ed.


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