Gov. DeSantis baits another reporter over Parental Rights/’Don’t Say Gay’ bill semantics

Desantis, Ron - 4
'Does it say that in the bill?'

For a second time in less than a week, Florida’s Governor baited a reporter over a piece of sex education legislation currently being debated in the Senate.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, addressing reporters at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, took a reporter to task for a question on the Parental Rights in Education bill being debated on the Senate floor Monday.

HB 1557 was passed by the House on party lines and made ready for the Senate’s Special Order Calendar Monday.

The reporter noted that critics called the legislation, which prohibits discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in lower grades, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This observation led DeSantis to drag the questioner.

“Does it say that in the bill? Does it say that in the bill? I’m asking you to tell me what’s in the bill, because you are pushing false narratives,” DeSantis said. “It doesn’t matter what critics say.”

When the reporter said the bill banned classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation, DeSantis noted that the bill applied to “pre-K through three, so five-year-olds, six-year-olds, seven-year-olds.”

“And the idea that you wouldn’t be honest about that and tell people what it actually says, it’s why people don’t trust people like you, because you peddle false narratives, and we disabuse you of those narratives,” DeSantis said. “We’re going to make sure that parents can send their kid to Kindergarten without having some of this stuff injected into the school curriculum.”

DeSantis had previously blasted a reporter in Jacksonville Friday for asking about the legislation.

DeSantis rejected the “Don’t Say Gay” descriptor, saying to a reporter, “You call it that. I haven’t seen that in any of these bills. Where is this coming from?”

“Does the truth matter or not? Is that in any of these bills? Yes or no,” the Governor hectored.

The Governor’s latest comments came after a spokesperson supported the bill as a way to stop “grooming” in the school setting.

“If you’re against the anti-Grooming bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4- to 8-year-old children. Silence is complicity. This is how it works, Democrats, and I didn’t make the rules,” tweeted Christina Pushaw.

In texts to Florida Politics, Pushaw wrote that her definition of “grooming” includes “talking to kids about sex. There is no reason for 3- to 8-year-olds to learn about sex in school, and anyone who wants to teach kids that young about sex — particularly over parental objections — is creating an environment where grooming can easily occur.”


Scott Powers of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • tom palmer

    March 7, 2022 at 5:44 pm

    Fair enough. The discussion shouldn’t rely on sound bytes on either side. The real question is whether the bill is a false narrative about whether this is taught to kindergarteners in the first place.

    • PeterH

      March 8, 2022 at 12:12 pm

      Exactly. The language is vague, opens many doors to interpretation, has no rules on enforcement and best of all is irrelevant! Where are educators talking about sex of any kind to grades k – 3? Let’s legislate problems that don’t exist!

    • Tracy Currier

      March 9, 2022 at 12:59 pm

      Actually, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Stop it before it starts. Works really well.

  • He who’s dares

    March 7, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    “Does it say that in the bill”

    Let’s test it out And find out then fatty.

    • Loose change

      March 8, 2022 at 3:18 am

      Gays already hate republicans this is just for the old dying white folks to nibble on while they wait for the boat to come lol

    • enalkreeny

      March 14, 2022 at 9:24 pm

      You seem a bit overwrought that ya can’t teach the gay stuff to little kids any more.

  • Frankie M.

    March 7, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay. I think Ronnie just had an aneurysm. So much for giving a voice to the voiceless. DeSantis also described having “liberated” students from masks, describing school kids as “vulnerable and voiceless.”

    I call this the “duct tape” bill designed to limit free speech. You might remember free speech as something conservatives used to be in favor of. Now it’s a sledgehammer that is used to hit teachers over the head if they stray from the guvmint mandated script. The duct tape bill is just part of a larger assault against public education. Case in point is the union busting bills. Conservatives believe teachers unions are only there to protect bad teachers but they are silent when it comes to police unions. Teacher unions are for everyone but as veteran teachers leave the profession in droves and we see a constant churn of younger teachers McCharter schools will slowly replace public ones without anyone noticing. Their ultimate end game is to give public education dollars to private entities aka corporate welfare.

    • Antonio

      March 7, 2022 at 10:45 pm

      HB 1557 Section 1; Sub-section 3:
      3. A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.

      If you have a problem with this, you have issues and perhaps you shouldn’t be around children.

      • tom [almer

        March 8, 2022 at 2:24 am

        yeah, but is this discussion even happening at that grade level?

        • Johnny Bans

          March 8, 2022 at 3:15 pm

          “yeah, but is this discussion even happening at that grade level?” If it is, then this addresses that problem. If it isn’t then there’s nothing to worry about… well, except for the creepers that need to talk to 7yr olds about sexuality without that child’s parent’s knowledge.

          • JEP

            March 9, 2022 at 12:39 pm

            What if the child has gay parents? What if the child has questions about why they have two dads or two moms, while some other kids have a mom and a dad? Are they allowed to ask that question? What is. teacher supposed to do, in order to support their students?

      • Frankie M.

        March 8, 2022 at 6:58 am

        It’s a solution in search of a problem. Why codify something that isn’t even taking place? It’s part of a larger assault on public education. Like I’ve said before it’s political theatre posing as legislation.

        • Ed

          March 8, 2022 at 11:20 am

          If it’s not taking place then the bill shouldn’t affect anybody and there’s nothing to argue about.

          • Frankie M.

            March 8, 2022 at 1:05 pm

            Then why have the bill in the first place?

      • Trashsantis

        March 8, 2022 at 2:41 pm

        Since when was any of that taught in elementary school?
        It wasn’t and isn’t.
        This is just another culture war point, passing law that will have absolutely no effect besides fear spreading and costing the tax dollars to be used to defend an unenforceable and unconstitutional law.

        • Nelson

          March 8, 2022 at 4:04 pm

          Let’s look at your comment a little further.
          First you state that the subject hasn’t been taught and isn’t today.
          Later you state it’s just “fear spreading” that will have no effect besides costing taxpayers money “defending an unenforceable and unconstitutional law”. If it’s not being done, what’s to defend? What’s to enforce? What’s unconstitutional? I don’t recall anything in the Constitution granting anyone the right to teach someone else’s children whatever sexual connotations they choose to believe.
          Seems to me that maybe you are the one actually trying to spread the fear, using words like “culture war”

          • Tracy Currier

            March 9, 2022 at 1:01 pm

            I agree with you.

  • Tom

    March 7, 2022 at 10:29 pm

    Scott, I watched the presser.
    He didn’t bait, he challenged the erroneous question just like last week. Florida politics owes apology, as they’ve said that as well.
    It does not refer.

  • Herb Fouraker

    March 8, 2022 at 1:46 am

    The slant of the reporters is so obvious it is unprofessional. Gancarski attacks DeSantis in every piece he writes. Why not just be honest and admit it is an editorial.

    • tom palmer

      March 8, 2022 at 2:21 am

      Gancarski is typically a GOP stenographer

  • Ron Ogden

    March 8, 2022 at 2:56 am

    Good for DeSantis. I’m glad to see our elected leader clear up these little misconceptions–and, boy, do the reporters hate it! Gancarski thinks he’s Hunter Thompson–in JAX yet.

    • Drop it like

      March 8, 2022 at 3:32 am

      He’s just hating gays because knows in 30 years they will tearing down his statue lol

      • Tracy Currier

        March 9, 2022 at 1:02 pm

        Why does everyone keep saying this? I don’t know anyone that hates gays. We have gay people all over at work and nobody thinks anything of it. Can’t really use that band wagon anymore!

  • ScienceBLVR

    March 8, 2022 at 7:07 am

    Tom P. is right- sound bites aside and both sides do use them to trigger the snowflakes on either side of the political spectrum, this is just one more example of the GOP’s war on the LGBTQ+ community with DeSantis as the lead homophobic bully. If you don’t see how this has been gearing up across Red country in general and in Florida in particular, you have not been paying attention.

    • Tracy Currier

      March 9, 2022 at 4:15 pm

      War on preschool and kindergarten children? Really, that’s the best you have?

  • manny

    March 8, 2022 at 11:34 am

    Gancarski, did you really graduate from an accredited school of journalism? If so, then you would have read the 7 page bill, and had known that the word gay is not mentioned once time in these 7 pages.
    I hear there may be another Bill coming to the floor regarding teaching about ¨Journalism”…… It’s being referred to as Don’t be Lazy.
    In our modern times, there are only two real men in poltics. Don, and Ron. All the others are cowering cowards.

  • Matthew Lusk

    March 8, 2022 at 11:39 am

    I hear homosexual men have a disgusting habit of shoving their erection up another man’s anus. Gay is not OK. It is extremely perverted. An abomination worthy of death according to the Old Testament. This is why parents need control. School vouchers to keep the homosexual lobby out of their kids minds.

    • Tardsantis

      March 8, 2022 at 2:43 pm

      Go back to praying the gay away

  • Frankie M.

    March 8, 2022 at 1:11 pm

    I think all those parents worried about their kids being “groomed” in public schools should vote with their feet and take their voucher money to all those great homophobic Old Testament schools.

    • Tracy Currier

      March 9, 2022 at 1:05 pm

      My friend’s 4 year old came home from preschool a couple weeks ago and informed his parents that he had a choice whether to be a boy or a girl. At 4 years old! Where do you think he heard this? At preschool. Sounds like grooming to me…. but what do I know, I’m only a mother.

  • Frankie M.

    March 8, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    I thought conservatives were against more unnecessary legislation? Guess I was wrong.

Comments are closed.


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