Florida schools align LGBTQ policies with Don’t Say Gay law

Nearly a dozen Florida schools are dropping policies that violate Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new rules on LGBTQ issues in classrooms, officials said Wednesday.

Board of Education executive chancellor Jacob Oliva sent letters to 10 districts in November warning that their policies were inconsistent with the Parental Rights Bill.

Among other things, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law requires that schools inform parents if their children change gender or if they change bathrooms or changing rooms.

This provision ran counter to policy in districts that required student consent to notify parents of gender identity changes.

At an education committee meeting on Wednesday, Oliva said several districts have already scraped current policies to conform with the bill passed in March.

In his letter to Leon County officials, Oliva wrote that parents have a right to know if there is a “change in the student’s services or supervision related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being and the ability of the school provides a safe and supportive learning environment for the student.”

Oliva stated that the rules apply to a student’s “privacy, use of names and pronouns, and use of toilets and locker rooms.”

Demonstrators in Tallahassee, Florida gather to protest "don't say gay" Invoice.
Demonstrators in Tallahassee, Fla., gather to protest the Don’t Say Gay law.
AP

All 10 districts that received letters — Alachua, Broward, Brevard, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Leon, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine — have pledged to support Olivas to dispel concerns.

Two of them — Alachua and Brevard — recently mandated that children use bathrooms according to their biological gender in order to conform to the law.

Oliva also reminded districts that legislation allows parents to sue them for breaking the law.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis presents the controversy "parental rights in education" Invoice.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis introduces the controversial Parental Rights in Education bill.
AP

The Parental Bill of Rights sparked a firestorm earlier this year, sparking a special scrutiny for banning subjects related to sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

DeSantis strongly supported the law, arguing that parents have a right to an unbiased view of school policies — and that sexualized topics are inappropriate for younger children.

However, critics counter that the law provoked hostilities against the LGBTQ community and targeted students with diverse sexual orientations and identities.

Pictured is Senior Chancellor of the Florida Board of Education Jacob Oliva
Jacob Oliva is the Senior Chancellor of the Florida Board of Education.
Florida Department of Education

On Wednesday, Oliva said his department will be following up the 10 districts to ensure they are complying with the BOE’s guidelines.

https://nypost.com/2022/12/15/florida-schools-match-lgbtq-policies-to-dont-say-gay-bill/ Florida schools align LGBTQ policies with Don’t Say Gay law

JACLYN DIAZ

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