To Comply With the Don’t Say Gay Law, Florida Schools Have Changed Their LGBTQ+ Policies
The Florida State Board of Education got an update on the status of school districts penalized for violation with the state’s Don’t Say Gay rule on Wednesday.
Ten county school districts were told last month that some of their rules and processes “may not comply with Florida law” and were forced to comply.
Several of the 10 districts had eliminated LGBTQ+ support guides, two had approved new restrictions barring trans kids from accessing their gender’s facilities and locker rooms, and one had removed half of its equity statement addressing racism.
The rollbacks delighted board members, all of whom were chosen by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Ultimately, we determined that these districts were in conformity with the law,” stated board chair Tom Grady.
The Parental Rights in Education Act, approved in March, went into effect in September. Sexual orientation and gender identity education and conversation are prohibited in kindergarten through third grade, and such talks are restricted in later grades.
It chills the speech of LGBTQ+ instructors and students, as well as speech in general.
Noncompliance was detected in Alachua, Broward, Brevard, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Leon, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach counties, as well as the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.
During the hearing, Grady cautioned superintendents that they may still face lawsuits from parents while they made improvements. Broward County indicated that reversing rules would take until March 31, 2023 to put the district into conformity.
“I believe it’s apparent to me that not only Broward, but other districts have a very big interest to move as rapidly as can, definitely before March 31, to alter those policies in order to prevent that sort of challenge,” Grady said.
Chairman Grady used Wednesday’s meeting to congratulate the DeSantis-appointed board on earning an award from the right-leaning Core for Education Reform, which backed and fought for the Don’t Say Gay law at the center of their agenda.
“I believe this is a wonderful opportunity to just quickly point out that Florida has placed first in the nation for parental participation in education,” Grady said, “and that’s really what this item is about.”
Republican state Rep. Joseph Harding, the creator of the Don’t Say Gay bill, resigned his seat in the Florida legislature last week after being charged on counts of wire fraud, money laundering, and making false claims.