Amidst the controversial surrounding Florida HB 1557, which has been dubbed the “Anti-Grooming Bill” by supporters and the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics, openly gay kindergarten teacher Cory Bernaert appeared on MSNBC to give his perspective on the new law. HB 1557 prohibits teachers from discussing sexuality with very young students.
“You know, it’s two-fold, it really hits hard in my heart professionally and personally,” Bernaert said. “Professionally it truly makes me feel like I am not trusted as a professional. I know my kindergarten standards through and through and nowhere in our curriculum does it have anything about teaching sexual orientation or sexual identity.”
Bernaert continued, “So for them to say that that’s happening that, you know, it is kind of crazy, but we should be able to have discussions and that’s what we’re encouraged to do in kindergarten.”
Teacher on MSNBC worries he can't discuss his love life with kindergarteners anymore: "It scares me that I am not going to be able to have these conversations with my children…I don’t want to have to hide that my partner and I went paddle boarding this weekend." pic.twitter.com/YJperIlzJB
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) March 29, 2022
The teacher claimed, “Personally, because my kids do have questions, they want to know who my partner is and pictures outside the classroom and I should be able to speak to them.”
“In order to build relationships, you talk about your home life, what you do on the weekends, that’s building community,” Bernaert said. “It scares me that I am not going to be able to have these conversations with my children because they’re going to ask about what I did on the weekend, I don’t want to have to hide that my partner and I went paddleboarding this weekend. They will ask ‘what does partner mean?’ Can I tell them what it means?”
Bernaert added that he is “afraid for myself, my colleagues and my students.”
Despite the controversy on social media surrounding HB 1557, it remains highly popular in conservative circles.
Republican congressional candidate Vernon Jones promised earlier this month that, “In Congress, I’ll introduce a federal replica of the anti-grooming bill recently passed in Florida.”