Fox News reporter Peter Doocy came up empty after White House press secretary Jen Psaki demanded that he provide examples of kindergartens teaching sex education in Florida.
The issue was raised while Doocy questioned Psaki about a controversial new Florida education law during a White House press conference on Monday. The statute, which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” law, bans “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten though third grade, or at any time deemed “not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”
Doocy asked Psaki “at what age does the White House think students should be taught about sexual orientation or gender identity.” Psaki, who is reportedly planning to leave her position as press secretary, noted that the Biden administration had previously “spoken to the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill,” while calling it an example of Florida politicians “propagating misinformed, hateful policies that do absolutely nothing to address the real issues.”
“So, if you guys oppose this law that bans classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in K-3, does the White House support that kind of classroom instruction before kindergarten?” Doocy asked.
“Do you have examples of schools in Florida that are teaching kindergartners about sex education?” Psaki responded.
Doocy replied that he was “just asking for the president’s opinion.” Psaki pushed back when no examples were cited.
“I think that’s a relevant question,” said Psaki. “Because I think this is a politically charged, harsh law putting parents and LGBT+ kids in a very difficult, heartbreaking circumstance. And so, I actually think that’s a pretty relevant question.”
Newsweek reached out to Fox News for comment.
Even prior to the new law, Florida kindergarten through third-grade curriculum did not include any teachings on sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a PolitiFact fact-checking article that cites the Florida Department of Education.
Florida schools are not required to offer any type of sex education other than lessons on the “benefits of sexual abstinence” between grades six and 12, according to Florida ABC affiliate WEAR. Parents also have the choice of opting their children out of any sex education lessons that are taught.
Some educators have advocated for teaching sex education at younger ages, while also including lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity. Montclair State University professor Eva Goldfarb, co-author of several sexuality education curricula, told German media outlet Deutsche Welle that “comprehensive” lessons should should be taught to “curious” kindergartners.
“Comprehensive sex education should include discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten,” Goldfarb told the outlet. “Different people have different family structures; some people have two daddies and some people have two mommies.”
President Joe Biden and Psaki have both previously described Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law as “hateful.” On Monday, Psaki also said that the Department of Justice was “well positioned” to take action against the law if it is determined to be in violation of federal civil rights statutes.