Florida bill would ban elementary school kids from learning about menstruation
A proposed bill in Florida would prevent children from learning about menstruation in elementary school, even though some girls get their first periods in those years.
The bill would also ban other sex education topics through the fifth grade.
Sponsored by Republican Florida state Rep. Stan McClain, the bill advanced out of the House Education Quality Subcommittee last week, CBS News reported.
"So if little girls experience their menstrual cycle in fifth grade or fourth grade, will that prohibit conversations from them since they are in the grade lower than sixth grade?" state Rep. Ashley Gantt, a Democrat, asked during the subcommittee hearing.
McClain said that it would.
U.S. girls typically start their periods at ages 11 to 14. Some begin menstruating at age 9 or 10, while some don't begin until age 15, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Children in third and fourth grade are typically ages 8 to 10, while fifth-graders are often 11.
Gantt asked McClain whether teachers could be disciplined for talking about menstruation with children who had their first period at these younger ages.
"We hadn't contemplated that, but that would not be the intent of the bill," McClain said, adding he would be "amenable" to changing some of the text of the bill to allow for those conversations, CBS News reported.
Schools would not be able to provide any information on human sexuality topics, including reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases, until students are in sixth through 12th grades, according to the news report.
The bill would also require that schools "teach that sex is determined by biology and reproductive function at birth; that biological males impregnate biological females by fertilizing the female egg with male sperm; that the female then gestates the offspring; and that these reproductive roles are binary, stable and unchangeable."
Teachers would emphasize heterosexual relationships, CBS News reported.
"Teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school-age students while teaching the benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage," HB 1069 reads.
This isn't Florida's first controversy regarding menstruation. The state made it mandatory earlier this year for female athletes to include their menstrual history on medical forms. The state later removed that requirement, but still asks athletes to indicate "sex assigned at birth" rather than just sex, the news report says.
More information: The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on menstruation.
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