Leon County School Board approves LGBTQ guide after fierce debate

https://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/education/2022/06/29/leon-county-school-board-approves-lgbtq-guide-dont-say-gay-moms-for-liberty-parental-rights/7765205001/

Please notice that the board goes above the requirements of the law and that the maga rabid right is wanting them to go even farther.    They are equating LGBTQ+ students with sexual predators and also as one person said the straight kids are pushing heteerosuality in their dess and actions.   The idea that teachers can not use the students prefered pronouns even if the parents want them to show just how much bigotry and attempt to erase the LGBTQ+ in Florida school has become.    LGBTQ+ kids are in schools and these laws are making them hide, making them targets, making the religious doctrines have more rights and authority than these kids do.   How this is legal I have no idea, but we live in a religious theocracy these days.   The Christian Taliban has taken over Florida, they are a minority but they seem to have all the power in the state.  Hugs

After three hours of fiery public debate, the Leon County School Board unanimously approved its “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide” Tuesday night.

The policy, which the board is calling a “guide” and a “living document” that can be quickly updated, comes after weeks of deliberation from the district’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee. 

The document is intended to create guidelines for teachers and administrators to help students who need it and to outline state laws for employees, Assistant Superintendent Alan Cox told the Tallahassee Democrat.

The advisory committee was created to review the district’s longstanding LGBTQ guide, which was pulled last summer after the parents of a middle school child complained that it overstepped their parental rights.

Back story:

Most of the 60 or so public speakers leveled harsh criticism of the guide and effort, with some saying it could harm LGBTQ students and others saying it didn’t go far enough to protect parental rights.

“Normally when we have something on the agenda, we have a group that’s for, and a group that’s against,” board Vice Chair Alva Striplin said. “Well, tonight we had everyone against.”

Parental notification draws fire

What drew the most debate was a provision that a school will notify parents — by form — if a student who is “open about their gender identity” is in a physical education class or on an overnight trip. 

Some teachers and students during the Tuesday night meeting said the policy will “out” LGBTQ+ students — revealing their sexual orientation or gender identity without their permission. 

The policy language does explicitly say a student’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression “should not be shared with others without their input and permission.” 

Back story:Leon County Schools LGBTQ guide draft completed, public comment scheduled for June 28

The document:Read the full LGBTQ guide and amendments here.

“The notification to all the parents can create a very stressful and unwanted situation to trans and LGBTQ students,” said Kailey Sandell, a Leon High School student who spoke at the meeting. “A lot of times kids assume that kids are gay or trans; they will easily be able to hurt them.”

In the backdrop of the debate over LGBTQ rights is the Parental Rights in Education billHB 1557, passed earlier this year, which states that parents must be notified if there is a change in their child’s “mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being.” 

 
 
 

The meeting lasted more than four hours and multiple speakers cited the Bible in their comments. Some parents said discussions about sexual orientation have no place in schools and that the guide was overstepping the role of education officials.

Other parents who spoke at the meeting argued if they are not notified in such circumstances, it’s a violation of their parental rights. 

“Any attempt to withhold information from a parent or try to influence a child in a knowing way is against Florida law,” said Sharyn Kerwin, head of the Leon County chapter of Moms for Liberty and a member of the committee the advisory committee.

The Moms for Liberty group, based in Brevard County, rose to power during the mask mandate debates. The conservative organization aims to make a big mark on the 2022 elections and position itself as a juggernaut on education issues with the clout to reshape school policies in Tallahassee and throughout the nation.

Subscriber exclusive: Moms for Liberty: Despite nonpartisan claims, army of activists a political force in 2022

Critics of the notification policy say the district’s language is equating “gender identity” with LGBTQ sexuality. They note that even someone who is “straight” expresses themselves via their clothing choices or appearance and can be “open about their gender identity.”

“Sending out a parent notification could be seen as placing a target on a student’s back,” said Lauren Kelly-Manders, a Tallahassee resident. 

Kelly-Manders, 34, is a staunch LGBTQ advocate and “came out” when she was 14 at Leon High School. She also sits on the city’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Council. 

“I have concerns and trouble envisioning that type of notice in practice,” she said. 

Benjamin Burn, another LCS student who spoke at the meeting, said, rather, making restrooms in schools gender-neutral would help, especially with bullying situations. 

“Trans kids want privacy,” Benjamin said. “That’s what I want, that’s what everyone wants. And trans kids honestly deserve it.” 

Board members at odds but find common ground

Board Chair Darryl Jones said initially that he was against the guide and favored delaying a vote.

“One of the things I don’t want this guide to do is, for lack of a better description, weaponize bigotry,” Jones said. 

Vice Chair Alva Striplin took the opposing view. 

“I feel like parents are not protected enough in this,” she said. “But I’m trying to meet in the middle and give our teachers something.”

‘N:‘No place for these kids’: How Leon County Schools’ LGBTQ+ guide worked for one teen

Ultimately, the board and superintendent concluded that teachers desperately needed a guide soon and agreed to move forward. 

Board member Joy Bowen, the longest-serving member of the board, attended the meeting via Zoom as she tested positive for COVID-19. Board member Rosanne Wood, previously a principal of SAIL High School, said the policy would help create direction for teachers and schools. 

“I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about this and we are trying to help our teachers and our administrators know what to do with students who need our help,” Wood said.

The board voted to approve the guide unanimously 4-0. It will revisit the guide in six months to adjust it if needed. 

Casey Chapter is a reporter for the Florida Student News Watch and a Tallahassee Democrat contributor. Follow her on Twitter @CaseyChapter.

  

 

Paula • 3 hours ago • edited

This is going to hurt LGBT youth so badly. I expect the number of runaways and homeless kids to increase dramatically. It is about the cruelty.

La’Kietha Paula • 3 hours ago

Sadly more suicides too

Boreal La’Kietha • 3 hours ago

That is the intent of the law. They want us dead before we’re old enough to vote.

Nic Peterson Paula • 3 hours ago

I imagine there will be a new business model popping up in floriduh: camps designed to fix the broken kids. That was the implied threat used by the madrasa that I was forced to attend. Man up or you’re family will have to send you away.

KarenAtFOH Nic Peterson • 2 hours ago

Already been done. Many kids died to get out.

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Ned Buntline Paula • 3 hours ago

Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life except as otherwise provided herein. This section shall not be construed to limit the public’s right of access to public records and meetings as provided by law.
That’s from the Florida Constitution and I believe this amendment will throw a spanner into a lot of the fascist culture war in this state.

mikeiver Ned Buntline • 2 hours ago

I will go out on my pessimistic limb here and say that they will simply ammend their constitution to remove that troublesome little paragraph.

Bbqpizza • 3 hours ago

I would like a notification to all parents that a child is a Bible thumping idiot so I know to keep my kids away from them.

Jerry Kott • 3 hours ago

I was groomed from day one to be heterosexual. tell me how that worked out?

Todd20036 Sam_Handwich • 2 hours ago

They think orientation is s choice

My own father thought I was gay because the sèx was easier to come by

What, me worry? Jerry Kott • 3 hours ago

I pretty much brought myself up. I was not groomed either way. I didn’t even kiss anyone until I was 18. There were no books, movies or anything to help me understand that I was gay. I just knew that I was different. Gym class was hell for me. I just kept to myself. This was in the 50s and 60s when it was illegal to be homosexual. As if that would stop us.

Todd20036 Jerry Kott • 2 hours ago

Same here. No internet or people to talk to either

I’m just grateful I didn’t marry a woman or have kids before accepting myself

Jerry Kott Todd20036 • an hour ago

it is very sad that people still do that in this day is age. I am in Pennsylvania and it is still very common. I don’t get it.

Todd20036 • 3 hours ago

I think the point of this is so bullies know who to bully until they kill themselves

Caitlyn Haiku Todd20036 • an hour ago

And when one of the bullied kids strikes back by beating up the bully the bullies parents will be “oh! Just look at how vicious those transgender/lgbtq+ kids are!”
They’re ALWAYS pulling that bullshit.

Boreal Todd20036 • 3 hours ago

It’s always about inflicting pain with the GQP.

Boreal • 3 hours ago

If you are a teacher with a conscience in FL, I urge you to quit. I’m sorry for the kids but there will be nothing you can do to help them. Time for a brain drain from red to blue states.

Mike C Boreal • 3 hours ago

I would urge them stay and engage in civil disobedience against these laws. We have enough resources to raise money to support teachers who do.

Boreal Mike C • 3 hours ago

Who will organize this support and protect teachers from the trumpanzee cultists? They will be subject to the same treatment poll workers in GA received: death threats, people stalking them and camping outside their homes.

Boreal Nic Peterson • 3 hours ago

If you are a teacher working for low pay (FL) and now you will be attacked by the cult, then you will probably make the decision to leave. The election worker in GA, Shaye Mos, recounted how a mob went to her grandmother’s house and intimidated her grandmother. Some may be able to deal with the cult but when they threaten your family, that’s usually the breaking point. We know the cult will do this.

mikeiver Nic Peterson • 2 hours ago

This is a no win situation here for the students and the teachers. I expect that over the next couple of years we will start to see a population shift in the country. If I were in a red state right now I could be planning on getting the fuck out of there to a blue state. It I had a gay or transgender kid, I would for sure be moving to a blue state. To be sure, blue states are not all rainbows and lollipops but they beat the fuck out of any of the red states now! Blue states need teachers and we should be promoting them moving and providing assistance and good pay for those here and those wanting to come here.

Mike C • 3 hours ago • edited

After three hours of fiery public debate, the Leon County School Board unanimously approved its “Jewish Inclusive School Guide” Tuesday night. What drew the most debate was a provision that a school will notify parents — by form — if a student who is “open about their Jewish identity”

No one would put up with this.

Dazzer • 3 hours ago

The Republican war on children continues unabated.

Gigi • 3 hours ago

This from the party of limited government and freedom. Soon they’re be giving evangelical children special outfits to wear for when the roam the halls looking for “undesirables” to beat up.

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