In 2022, Florida's legislature passed the Parental Rights in Education Act. This law specifically entails a section that prohibits the discussion of sexuality and gender identity issues, written as follows: "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3.1 ” This bill was passed under the guise of the "fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children in a specified manner." Now, states across the country are adopting or attempting to adopt similar laws.2

While these laws claim to work toward ensuring students' parents' rights to teach their children about such subject matter, the reality is that these laws prohibit schools from discussing fundamental matters of humanity like sexual orientation and gender.3 These laws censor diverse, and therefore, accurate representation in curriculum, and limiting this creates an overtly inequitable educational system due to the inherently gendered content of traditional curricular choices. This type of legislation has been shown to be a metric for bad actors and propagators of hateful ideologies to enforce their beliefs on children4 because they errantly believe that people being not heterosexual or cisgender is a fundamental malformation of the human identity rather than a rich and natural feature of life.5

What this law does is deprive children still in the midst of discerning their own identities of the necessary context that fosters identity development and empathy for others because a child's understanding of their orientation has been shown to develop as early as toddlerhood.6 When people assert that schools should not address orientation and identity, they deny an opportunity for students to receive information they can use to understand themselves, their peers, people they love, and perhaps their family structures. The evidence that obstructing people, especially children, from exploring their identity has a profoundly negative effect on their mental health in the short and long term is extensive. Other countries have attempted similar actions in the past with dangerous results.7

Alarmingly, many of the bills restricting discussion on LGBTQ+ topics also include provisions that require school employees to share with parents and guardians if a student discloses any aspect of identity that is not heterosexual or cisgender.8 This endangers LGBTQ+ youth who already have a higher likelihood of being abused and unhoused due to their identity.910 Schools should be safe and welcoming environments where all children can thrive, and this type of legislation prevents that.

We at SAIGE believe that curtailing the education of children by constricting schools from talking about an ineffable fact of life out of a politically motivated attempt to push an anti-LGBTQ+ perspective runs counter to the core ethics of the counseling field intended to “promote respect for human dignity and diversity.”11

Written by the SAIGE Public Policy Committee and approved by the SAIGE Board. Endorsed by the ACA Governing Council (June 2024).



Education Restrictions Resources

Professional Position Statements Opposing Parental Rights in Education Bill:


  • SAIGE Public Policy Resource Drive 
  • GLAAD Accountability Report - includes updated, detailed descriptions of politicians and their platforms regarding education censorship 
  • American Library Association (ALA)
  • Fight Censorship Guide - offers actionable steps one can take to challenge book banning 
  • Banned Book Tracker - provides updated information on the latest banned books and seeks to build community around these books 
  • Movement Advancement Project’s Under Fire Report Series - connects the dots on the varied ways that LGBTQ people are under siege from a targeted and coordinated campaign to undermine equality and ultimately erase LGBTQ people from public life  

Groups Addressing Education Restrictions:

News Articles

Open Access Articles & Reports:


Bader, E. J. (2022, March 25). Fear-based “Parental Bills of Rights” are a right-wing siege on public education, advocates say. Truthout.

Bellamy-Walker, T. (2022, January 22). Meet the moms of color from Texas fighting book bans at their kids' schools. NBC News. 

Benevento, M. (2021, November 30). While some parents push for book bans, educators and other community members promote diversity. The Kansas City Beacon.  

Janesch, S. (2024, March 15). Maryland poised to lead fight against book bans at school, community libraries. The Baltimore Sun.,direct%20reports%20and%20news%20coverage 

Johnson, M. (2020). The dangerous consequences of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill on LGBTQ+ youth in Florida. The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law. 

True, T. M. (2024, April 29). Bankrolling change in Massachusetts schools: A pathway to LGBTQ+ inclusion. Harvard Kennedy School: Student Policy Review., K. (2022, April 2024). ‘Really Scary and Sad’: How School Counselors Got Caught in the GOP’s Culture-War Dragnet. Rolling Stone.