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Florida lawmakers re-file bill to prevent private schools receiving vouchers from discriminating against students

The bill would make it illegal for private schools getting funding from state scholarship programs to deny enrollment based on sexual orientation or disability.
Credit: File photo

TALLAHASSEE, Fla — Two Florida lawmakers announced they have re-filed legislation they say would prevent private schools from discriminating against students "just because they are different." 

State Senator Darryl Rouson (D-Tampa) and State Representative Anna V. Eskamani (D-Orlando) says HB 655/SB 600 would make it illegal for private schools that get funding from "taxpayer-supported" scholarship programs to deny enrollment to students based on sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. 

“Schools that take money from the public should serve the public -- all of the public,” said Senator Rouson in a statement. “All of us would be outraged if these schools were turning away kids based on the color of their skin. And all of us should be outraged that they are turning away kids based on who they love, how they identify, or because they have disabilities.”

In a release, both lawmakers cited an investigation from the Orlando Sentinel, which showed some schools across the state wouldn't teach students who were LGBTQ+ or had disabilities despite receiving "millions in public money through the voucher system."

Sen. Rouson and Rep. Eskamani say it's the second year in a row they have filed this legislation.

“Right now, we have schools profiting off public money that will expel students just because their parents happen to be LGBTQ,” said Representative Eskamani in a statement. “This modern system of ‘separate but equal’ is indefensible. And Republican leaders in Tallahassee should stop hiding from this debate and hear our legislation, so we can end this discriminatory practice once and for all.”  

You can read the proposed bill here

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