The State Board of Education is slated this week to scrutinize LGBTQ support guides and bathroom policies for transgender students in 10 school districts, as state officials question whether they are violating a law known as the “Parents’ Bill of Rights” and other measures.
The Parents’ Bill of Rights relates to what families are entitled to know about their children’s education and health care.
Jacob Oliva, senior chancellor for the education department–and a former superintendent in Flagler schools–wrote letters to school superintendents in the districts on Nov. 18, outlining parts of policies that Oliva said “may have not yet been updated” to comply with state law and education board rules. The state board will discuss the policies during a meeting Wednesday.
As an example, in a letter to Alachua County Superintendent of Schools Shane Andrew, Oliva pointed to four policies within a district guide. One of the policies focused on “student privacy.”
“All students’ privacy rights will be respected and personal information about the student, including their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, will not be shared without the students’ or parents’ consent,” the policy said, with the word “or” in bold and underlined.
Oliva also cited a controversial law (HB 1557) passed this year that, in part, was designed to prohibit classroom instruction in early grades about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Under the law, parents must be notified of a “change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being and the school’s ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment” for the student.
“This could include matters related to a student’s privacy, name and pronoun usage, and restroom and locker room usage,” Oliva wrote.
Scrutiny of LGBTQ support guides was initiated after State Board of Education member Ryan Petty during an August board meeting expressed “grave concerns” about whether certain parts of some districts’ support-guide documents ran afoul of state law.
Education Commissioner Manny Diaz during the August meeting gave his staff the go-ahead to review support documents at all school districts.
But Brandon Wolf, the press secretary of LGBTQ-advocacy organization Equality Florida, criticized the education department’s targeting of the guides.
“Equality Florida’s grave concern is for the protection of LGBTQ students. The Department of Education’s record on these issues has demonstrated clear hostility toward those protections,” Wolf told The News Service of Florida after the August meeting.
Oliva’s missives to school officials in Alachua County and other districts similarly took aim at policies regarding students’ pronouns and rules guiding bathroom and locker-room access.
In a letter to Brevard County Superintendent of Schools Mark Mullins, Oliva took issue with parts of a document entitled “Brevard County Schools: LGBTQ+ District Guidance.”
One part of the Brevard document said that all students “are allowed to access locker rooms and restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity or be provided appropriate accommodations.”
Decisions about such accommodations, the document said, “should be student driven and with district support on a case-by-case basis.”
Oliva again noted that the policy, and any others that may not correspond with state law, would need revision.
“After initial review of the policies and procedures submitted by Brevard County Schools, it appears that some of these policies or procedures may have not yet been updated to comply with revised Florida law and State Board of Education rule. This list is not exhaustive, and your district should strive to review all its policies and procedures for other provisions that may not comport with Florida law,” Oliva wrote.
The state education board’s scrutiny of bathroom and locker-room policies came after the board in October approved a rule that requires districts to notify parents of such guidelines.
“This rule will allow both students and parents to have full knowledge if bathrooms and locker rooms will not be separated by biological sex at birth; therefore, allowing them to make informed decisions and requests for accommodations or modification,” a summary of the rule posted to the Florida Administrative Code said.
Policies that deal with other issues, such as a racial-equity policy used in Indian River County Schools, also will come under scrutiny during Wednesday’s meeting.
“This policy confronts the institutional racism that results in predictably lower academic achievement for students of color than for their white peers,” a part of the policy said.
But Oliva wrote in a letter to Indian River County Superintendent of Schools David Moore that the policy may not comply with a state law related to discrimination against public-school students and employees.
The board’s meeting this week will focus on policies in Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Leon, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Policies within a parent-student handbook for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind also is slated for discussion during the meeting.
–Ryan Dailey, News Service of Florida
This goes for all the heterosexual talk as well. No Bobby loves Molly. No pronouns of any kind. Good luck with the English language which is full of pronouns. I is one. Me is one too. You is another.
So, if I get wind of anyone talking about anything heterosexual, using any pronouns or any kind, I will log a formal complaint that it ALL has to stop. All straight teachers, you are no longer Ms., Miss, Mrs., and men are no longer Mr. Why? Gender affirmation and identity.
Those pics you have up of your families, all of you heteros, they need to be taken down too. No more mentioning your spouse or your kids. Again, gender.
Want to open this box then let’s open it all the way.
Bravo! Well said!
Florida Voter says
What you say is absolutely correct for K-3. Parents who oppose this law need to emphasize that it is a “Don’t Say Straight” law as much as a “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Please see my discussion with “Mark” in April:
In a K-3 class, telling a boy to use the “Boys” bathroom and a girl to use “Girls” bathroom is teaching gender identity. Maybe school should eliminate “Boys” and “Girls” bathrooms and rebrand them as “Penis” and Vagina” bathrooms?
Cisgender male/female is gender
Heterosexual (and heterosexual relations) is a sexual orientation.
William Moya says
The English language, in our political/economic/social system, couldn’t survive without the use of possessive pronouns.
Just relax says
I truly hope this was a late night rant. You can’t be serious. Referring to someone as he/she based on their XY/XX chromosomes is not violating any laws. This isn’t a “well if I can’t do it, neither can you” type of thing. My children should be able to go to the restroom at school and not have to worry about someone of the other sex being in there. What about their rights? I’m all for male/ female/ neutral bathrooms and so on. But just as much as you don’t want one side being discriminated against, I don’t want either.
One should not have to give up their rights for the other. These are children, who may or may not feel the same as they get older. The teachers go by the roster that is presented to them at the beginning of the school year that is filled out with their childs info. So, you come in the glass to as Johnny but don’t feel like that today so, I think I’ll have the teacher call me Jupiter instead.
You are definitely not comparing apples to apples
Agreed. This is discrimination, pure and simple. The state is wrong!
Gary Owens says
That is the screwiest thing I have ever heard of!!
Is it WRONG to promote Heterosexuals??
There are Males, and Females, and biologically and naturally they go together!
Why can you NOT COMPRHEND the TRUTH??
Because someone “wants” or “feels” we have to cave in?? Sorry SNOWFLAKE!
Aint’t gonna happen!
Florida Voter says
I’m not arguing the morality of this law, I’m arguing against the law itself. I think you’re missing how utterly ridiculous this law is.
Um… so in a legal, equal-protection, non-discriminatory way:
If your law says that it’s “WRONG to promote Heterosexuality” then it also needs to say that it’s “WRONG to promote LGBTQ+”
Likewise, if the law says that it is illegal to teach gender-identity to K-3, intending to ban LBGTQ+, then it also needs to ban the teaching of cisgender identity. Everything that happens in a classroom is “teaching” and part of a “lesson.” Gendered pronouns refer to gender identity (see the word “gender” repeated?). This law bans ALL teaching of gender identity in K-3. All. No exception for cisgender. No exception for “SNOWFLAKE” and no exceptions for Romans 1:18-32.
This law is poorly defined, poorly worded, and absolutely ridiculous.
Why can’t people just use the bathroom or locker room without the drama. Every time I’ve ever used the men’s room, nobody really made anything of it. Open the door, walk in and get the task at hand done. Clean up and leave. No drama, just another successful normal bodily function. Just never involves even saying a word to anyone really. So why are pronouns involved even ? You’re in there to get that done, anything else really raises questions. Why can’t some folks just do that.
The last place I want to hang out in or even need in an emergency is the men’s room. Read the FlaglerLive article about airborne fecal matter, being in there any longer than necessary is really a health risk. I can’t figure out why the females want to be in there for any longer than it takes. I certainly wouldn’t be applying makeup and sealing that to my skin to wear the rest of the day.
Great One says
LGBQT ideologies have no place in education.
Indoctrinate your own children at home you leftist lunatics.
Your a homophobic witless twit. And god is disgusted by your hate and idiocy.
Michael Cocchiola says
How cruel can extremist Republicans get? If you guessed state-sponsored discrimination, you guessed right. Is chasing LBGTQ+ out of Florida, or maybe internment next?
The possibilities for Republican horror seem endless.
Of course parents should be notified of any school policy changes, and we are at a point of trying to determine how to move forward (not backward). This is a tough one.
I’m all for a person to fit their own identity without too conservative, or too liberal, people legislating how that person should live. At the same time, we cannot have 10 different bathrooms and 10 different locker rooms to try to accommodate those who request it, and those who decry it.
I’m a fan of the Ally McBeal show, which aired from the late ’90’s to the early 2000’s. Their law office shared a unisex bathroom. However, we’re talking kids here. I think that maybe we continue to share bathrooms and locker rooms with individuals with the same genitalia, with the birth certificate acknowledging gender. After all, we have done that all along and I’m sure no one thinks that there were no non-binaries, gays, or trans in the lockers when we were kids, we just didn’t know it at the time, well, for the most part anyway. Maybe a third bathroom or locker room (all rooms being smaller) for those who feel more comfortable using those facilities.
As for pronouns, that’s also a tough one. For me, Kaitlin Jenner is a “she.” Case closed. For someone referring to themselves as “they” sounds like a multiple personality! I’ve come across young men who totally wear feminine makeup, and completely not know how to refer to *him* without knowing his name. In New Orleans, people would refer to him as a “shim.”
Well, time, and people smarter than me, will figure this all out. Today’s kids will get it right. I just wish that people would not condemn, or harm, these young folks simply because they identify themselves probably more accurately than has been allowed in the past. I do believe in evolution, and I also believe that Jesus never condemned these people and, instead, preached love.