Not all teachers feel wary.

Some believe their job is clear: to teach reading and math, not race and sexuality. Still others say some contested concepts were never part of the curriculum to begin with.

Scott Davey, a seventh-grade civics teacher in the Tampa Bay area, anticipates “no difference whatsoever.” He teaches a state-outlined curriculum that focuses on government, including the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. “We teach the benchmarks,” he said. “That’s plenty to keep us busy.”

Others, though, described a sense of trying to thread a political needle. It’s not just about what they teach, it’s also about how students interpret it. For example, the law says teachers cannot compel students to believe that anyone is inherently privileged or oppressed because of his or her race.

“I’ve never used the word oppression in my classroom,” said Renel Augustin, who teaches African American history at a high school in Davie, Fla., covering everything from the trans-Atlantic slave trade to the civil rights movement and beyond.

He presents historical facts, he said, and allows students to draw their own conclusions.

Still, he said, “it’s really hard to read all of that history, see all of these situations, present all of this evidence and think that these kids aren’t going to come to a conclusion that there is some type of oppression.”

Perhaps most complicating of all, teachers say, are the ways students sometimes bring up race, gender identity and politics on their own — from musing about whether Scout, the tomboy character in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” might be trans, to asking about illegal immigration during a lesson on citizenship.

Rebecca McDermott, who teaches gifted classes for elementary students in Duval County, said she has heard students use the term “gay” to insult one another. In the past, she said she typically intervened and asked students to reflect on what the term meant.

“A lot of times they didn’t know,” said Ms. McDermott, who is gay and raising two children with her wife. “It’s just something they’ve heard.”

Now, she wonders if it is best to steer clear. She has mentally practiced what she might say this year: “We’re not here to talk about that. We are here to learn. Let’s move on.”

State officials have said that the Parental Rights in Education Act limits instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, not mere discussion.

In response to a lawsuit challenging the law, state officials said that gay teachers could display family photos, employees could intervene against bullying based on gender and sexuality, and schools could host clubs for L.G.B.T.Q. students. The law does not ban “incidental references in literature to a gay or transgender person or to a same sex couple,” according to court documents.

Still, the law has left some educators wondering: Where does discussion end and instruction begin?

“It was always written to be vague and to be sweeping in its effect, because the goal was the chilling effect,” said Joe Saunders, senior political director for Equality Florida, an L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy group that is suing the state.

The Florida Department of Education declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

Students, too, wonder what is allowed. Adrianna Gutierrez, 15, a sophomore in Hialeah, Fla., who is lesbian, said that when she first heard about the law, she was crushed. “I was like, oh my God, I’m not going to be able to express who I am,” she said.

She later learned that, in fact, she could talk about her identity in school. She has been working to spread the word to other students.

Bridget Ziegler, a school board member in Sarasota County who recently won re-election with an endorsement from Mr. DeSantis, said that the law has been “completely misrepresented, with the tagline that I forbid to say, because I don’t even want to give it any more air.”

Ms. Ziegler, whose husband is the vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, pushed back against reports that school employees would be required to notify parents if a student came out as gay, which she said was not relevant to the child’s educational services. But if children wanted to change their name on school paperwork because of gender identity, for example, “that is a different story.”

“Parents need to be involved, and not cut out,” she said.

For Sheryl Posey, a school psychologist in the Orlando area, the new requirements pose a “huge ethical conundrum.”

When a student confides in her about their gender identity or sexuality, she said it is her practice to ask whether they have a safe person to talk to at home.

“I want to partner with parents,” she said. But if a student is not ready to come out, she is bound by professional ethics that require confidentiality unless a student is at risk to themselves or others.

If required to out a student, she is unsure what she would do. (The law allows school districts to withhold information that might result in abuse, abandonment and neglect.)

“I’m really at a loss, honestly,” Ms. Posey said. “It feels very much like trying to walk a tightrope, between law and ethics.”

With politics looming over the classroom, even classics like “The Great Gatsby” are taking on new meaning this year.

“Gatsby is about the futility of the American dream,” said Kathryn Clark, an English teacher in St. Johns County who teaches the novel each year. “If I talk about the futility of the American dream, is that going to be indoctrinating them? Am I selling them on this anti-American idea?”

“We’re all nervous,” she said.

Patricia Mazzei contributed reporting. Kirsten Noyes contributed research.

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