Schools Overriding Parental Authority Due to Family Breakdown: Sponsor of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill

Majority of Americans Support Parental Rights: Florida Representative Joe Harding

Florida State Rep. Joe Harding spearheaded Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill, which was given the misnomer “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by the progressive left. He thinks schools have become emboldened to override parental authority because there has been a fundamental breakdown of the family and the role of the family in American society.

“It’s a misunderstanding of the role of family, and you can’t replace parents with government,” Harding said in a Sept. 27 interview with EpochTV. American thought leader program.

Harding is a father of four and runs a business, which keeps him very busy. But they’re also what make the work he does as a state legislator all the more meaningful, he said.

Harding authored the Florida Parental Rights in Education Bill because he saw schools trying to usurp the authority of parents in making decisions about their children’s education, especially regarding the teaching of sex and the indoctrination of gender ideology.

After being elected in 2020, he heard various anecdotes from parents and was deeply disturbed by one particular incident in which a 12-year-old girl had several closed meetings with people from the Leon County School District, l helping to change the name. and change your pronoun.

“We can’t get a sense that a school district could have a closed meeting with my child, without including me as a parent,” Harding said. And to make matters worse, concerned parents were told the school would not release what was said during those closed-door meetings with their child.

“What it showed me was that it was so important that we do something now before it’s too late,” Harding said.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis introduces the signed Parental Rights in Education Bill with elementary school students during a press conference at Classic Prep School in Shady Hills, Florida, on March 28, 2022. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

Essentially, Florida’s new law attempts to empower parents by designating parents as the final decision-makers on any matter that affects their child physically or emotionally, as well as prohibiting the teaching of gender ideology from kindergarten to the 3rd year and allowing the parents to sue. school districts if staff violate the law.

The original bill was supposed to focus on tackling unapproved educational guides that teach gender ideology. But when Harding saw that some schools were circulating a questionnaire asking students, “Do you want your parents to be involved in helping you make the transition, in our school like him, to her, or as you want to do it” He knew Bill had to remedy that secret.

Young children were allowed to make decisions without their parents’ knowledge or consent, Harding said, which was deeply troubling.

In 2022, 26 States bills introduced or introduced in advance to give parents final authority in their child’s life. To date, six such laws have been enacted; two in Florida, two in Arizona, and one in Georgia and Louisiana. One in Kansas has empowered the legislature and is on the governor’s desk.

Some of these bills update the existing “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” while others are new efforts fueled by parental protests about what’s happening in schools across the country. Many bills require transparency in the school curriculum, while some bills outline the rights that parents have always had at school board meetings.

State legislatures believe these laws are necessary because many schools across the country train your staff to secretly affirm the gender a student chooses for themselves, using preferred pronouns and names without telling parents.

Epoch Times Photo
Houston area teacher and staff training slide featured this school year. (Courtesy of Julie Pickren)

Parents began to protest extreme, non-academic programs and activities, including drag queen storytimes where a grown man dresses as a woman and performs a striptease in front of young children, and graphic novels sexually explicit material in school libraries.

Epoch Times Photo
“We the People: For Parental Rights and Against Liberal Groomers”: A local protest outside Luther Jackson Middle School in Falls Church, Va., ahead of a meeting of the Fairfax County Public Schools Board on Sept. 15, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

There is a widespread problem of activist groups bypassing the normal curriculum review process and introducing gender identity and sex curricula into schools, Harding said.

“We had more and more people contacting us and saying our county had one. [gender identity-related curriculum guide] just like that. And that was probably the scariest part because these guides weren’t voted on at public meetings… They found a way around it with an activist agenda.

Activists, media and corporations promote ideology

Activist groups then touted Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill as an “anti-gay” effort to take away the rights of trans and gay students, which Harding said was untrue.

These left-wing groups began to cover Florida’s capital with pamphlets.

Epoch Times Photo
Members and supporters of the LGBTQ community attend the ‘Say Gay Anyway’ rally in Miami Beach, Florida on March 13, 2022. Florida’s state senate on March 8 passed a controversial bill banning classes on orientation and gender identity for children in kindergarten through third grade when they are eight or nine years old, a stage that critics complain will harm the LGBTQ community. (CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

“All my freshman colleagues get these pamphlets dropped off at their desks that basically say: Help us stop the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill, this bill targets trans kids…just rhetoric” , Harding said. “It was my first glimpse of how dirty and how bad these groups are to create a narrative.”

Mainstream media reproduced this narrative, and primetime television news hosts also called it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Harding said.

“In many ways, we were losing the message war on this bill, not because our message wasn’t good, but because we didn’t have the power of the media.”

Harding said even some of his fellow Democrats privately support Florida’s parental rights-in-education bill but must publicly go along with their party’s narrative. And a Democrat who backed the bill lost his primary election to a progressive candidate.

Epoch Times Photo
About 150 people attend a rally to oppose The Walt Disney Company’s stance against a recently passed law in Florida that bars schools from teaching their youngest students about sexual orientation and gender identity, ahead of Disney headquarters in Burbank, Calif., on April 6, 2022. (Jill McLaughlin/The Epoch Times)

After the bill passed both houses of the Florida legislature, the Disney Corporation spoke out in opposition to the legislation, trying to pressure Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to oppose it. his veto.

“I think Disney has already misjudged the amount of energy behind this bill.

“Disney has released a statement that [said] that we will work to ensure that House Bill 5057, my bill, is repealed,” Harding said. “Unfortunately, Disney is no longer the company that Walt Disney founded. It’s now a California-based company with California values ​​and that doesn’t fit Florida.

National Republican Parental Rights Bill

Republican Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.) in the United States House introduced a bill called the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act of 2022,” which “prohibits the use of federal funds to develop, implement, facilitate, or fund any program, event, or literature of a sexual nature for children under 10.”

“The bill prohibits federal funds from being used to organize or promote events, where adults dance dirty or strip naked for children,” he added.

Epoch Times Photo
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) speaks to reporters in Washington on May 14, 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Epoch Times Photo
Drag queens Athena Kills (C) and Scalene Onixxx arrive at Adults and Kids Waiting for Drag Queen Story Hour at Cellar Door Books in Riverside, California on June 22, 2019. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

An LGBTQ rights group, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, responded to Republicans’ bill.

Ellis said the content of Johnson’s bill was “misinformation”.

“The American people see this for what it is: a desperate, doomed effort targeting the most vulnerable students, in an attempt to spread lies,” Ellis said. in a press release.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Government Affairs, David Stacy, on October 19 statement called Republicans who support the bill and their constituents “extremists.”

However, Harding thinks most Americans would be okay with the content of legislation like Florida’s Parental Rights Act if they read it for themselves.

“I think most Americans realize what’s going on in our schools: targeting our children, trying to indoctrinate our children. Enough is enough,” he said.

Jan Jekielek


Jan Jekielek is an editor for the Epoch Times and host of “American Thought Leaders.” Jan’s career has spanned academia, the media and international human rights work. In 2009, he joined The Epoch Times full-time and held various positions, including editor-in-chief of the website. He is the producer of the award-winning Holocaust documentary film “Finding Manny”.

Masooma Haq


Masooma Haq began reporting for The Epoch Times from Pakistan in 2008. She currently covers a variety of topics, including US government, culture, and entertainment.


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