Media Contact

CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

March 31, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, the House voted to pass House Bill 1069 (HB 1069), a bill that would censor classroom discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity through 8th grade, significantly expand book bans, and infringe on parents' rights to ensure their transgender student's pronouns are respected. 

The ACLU of Florida opposes this bill and its Senate companion, SB 1320. 

Kara Gross, ACLU of Florida’s legislative director and senior policy counsel, responded to today’s vote with the following: 

“This bill has nothing to do with protecting Florida students and everything to do with erasing LGBTQ+ existence in our schools. 

“This harmful bill deprives students and families of learning, reading, teaching, and even talking about the very existence of LGBTQ+ individuals until the 9th grade. To be clear, it would prohibit teaching or reading about LGBTQ+ historical figures, present day leaders, artists, writers, and elected officials until high school.

“The First Amendment protects the right to learn and share ideas. Under this bill, the state is literally dictating what can and cannot be learned and discussed in Florida schools. By passing this bill, lawmakers are chilling speech in schools and ignoring our First Amendment rights. 

“Under current law, we have already seen everything from picture books to classic novels banned from our schools. This bill would go much further and require automatic removal of any book that is objected to until after the objection is resolved, which could take months. It would allow any county resident to object to any book that they subjectively think is inappropriate and require that the book be automatically removed from the school and classroom libraries regardless of whether the objection is baseless. This would be a tremendous burden on already under-resourced public school districts to handle and process these unfounded objections. 

“The bill also prohibits teachers and staff from using their preferred pronouns and disregards parental rights by allowing teachers to refuse to refer to a student by their preferred pronoun, even if the parent has requested that the preferred pronoun be used. 

“This extreme censorship bill is dangerously vague and overly broad and does nothing to help and support our youth. Instead it is meant to stigmatize LGBTQ+ youth and families members and make teachers fearful of providing a welcoming and inclusive classroom. It is an extreme example of heavy-handed government overreach and government censorship and is out of touch with the values of Floridians and the rest of the country. 

“All Florida students and families deserve to be protected, respected, and embraced, and this bill does the opposite.”