Happy holidays? Florida school district walks back decision to nix Hanukkah presentation

The drive for Christain nationalism in Florida is in full drive mode.   Stuff relating to Christians is allowed, Jewish and Black holidays are not allowed.   To justifying denying the presentation of what Hanukkah is the superintendent said that they would have to teach Kwanza and Diwali.”   This is added to the anything positive about the LGBTQI+ is banned but right wing fascism is good for teaching.   Hugs

A spokesperson for the district said officials a ‘trying to be careful’ in light of the new Parents’ Bill of Rights.

Pasco County Schools says it has reversed its decision to deny a mother’s request to give a Hanukkah presentation to her son’s fifth grade class after reporters contacted the district for an explanation.

A district spokesperson said the mother would have to first meet with school staff to set up guidelines, but that the presentation has been otherwise approved.

Rachel Long has visited each of her children’s classes yearly to explain Hanukkah — the Jewish “Festival of Lights” that takes place around the same time as Christmas and similarly involves gift giving — since her eldest son was in preschool. He’s now in 10th grade.

Her short presentation includes no mention of God or religion, Long said. Instead, it consists of her reading from a book explaining Hanukkah (also written as “Chanukah”), sharing traditional food, displaying a menorah, and giving toy tops (dreidels) to each child for an in-class game.

Not counting the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the schools Long’s children attended welcomed her into the classroom every year without issue. That was until last week when she reached out to her youngest child’s fifth-grade teacher at his elementary school in New Port Richey to ask when she could come in this year.

 

Initially, the teacher seemed open to the idea. She told Long she would confer with school higher-ups “to determine what day and time would be best.”

A few days later, however, the teacher said that after speaking with school staff and district administrators, they recommended she deny Long’s request, citing Florida’s relatively new Parents’ Bill of Rights.

“As per discussions with the team and Admin, the new Parent Bill of Rights (sic) obligates us to follow the 5th Grade Standards as written,” the teacher said by text. “At this time, a Chanukah presentation is not in our standards.”

Long asked: “Then, I assume, no Christmas activities will be done?”

The teacher did not immediately reply.

 
 

Screenshots of the text exchange between parent Rachel Long and her son’s fifth grade teacher. Image via Rachel Long.

The Parents’ Bill of Rights, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed on June 30, 2021, provides that parents can object to — and opt their child out of — instructional materials based on their beliefs about morality, sex and religion.

The only mention of holidays and cultural traditions in the Pasco School curriculum guide for fifth grade says students will read stories from “different cultures” and encourages parents to discuss the meaning of various holidays with their children.

CPALMS, the Florida Department of Education’s official source for education standards, includes approved lessons on holidays in world language, history, and civics classes and hundreds of allowances for multicultural education.

Long contacted the school’s principal and got a similar answer. The principal, she said, claimed to have spoken with an Assistant Superintendent from the district. The Assistant Superintendent assigned to the school is Kimberly Poe, according to Pasco Schools Director of Employee Relations Kathy Scalise.

Long said the principal told her: “Due to the Parent Bill of Rights (sic), the school could not celebrate any holidays.”

Apparently, that doesn’t apply to Christmas, Long contended, noting Christmas-themed décor throughout a “holiday shop” in the school and a host of related activities.

“(The) kids are watching the musical, ‘Elf Jr.,’ during school, the school is completely decorated for Christmas, and there is a ‘Santa night’ planned,” Long told Florida Politics. “(The principal) explained these things by saying they are holiday-themed, not Christmas, and parents are able to opt their students out. Teachers are allowed to have Christmas trees in their rooms but are not allowed to do Elf on The Shelf.

“If students can participate in all these activities or be opted out, I suggested that students could be opted out of my Chanukah presentation.”

The elementary school’s “holiday shop” has no shortage of Christmas-themed decorations. Image via Rachel Long.

Long stressed that she isn’t trying to push her religion on anyone.

“I am just trying to expose my child’s classmates to different traditions,” she said. Long said the principal agreed to raise the issue again with Poe before rendering a final decision Thursday but suggested that if the school allowed a presentation on Hanukkah, “they would have to teach Kwanza and Diwali.”

“I think that would be awesome,” Long said. “I told her that if it is me coming in that is an issue; I would be happy to send the materials in for the teacher to use. I explained to her that if I am not able to do my presentation or that the teacher doesn’t do it, I will raise hell if I see one Christmas paper come home or I see one Christmas tree in the school.”

Florida Politics contacted principal Poe, Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning, and Deputy Superintendent Ray Gadd. None responded by press time.

But the issue appeared to have been resolved by Wednesday afternoon. Pasco Schools Public Information Officer Stephen Hegarty told Florida Politics that Long could indeed do her Hanukkah presentation once she meets with the teacher and other relevant faculty.

Hegarty confirmed a local TV reporter had also learned of the issue and was seeking answers. He said the district was being cautious when it expressed reticence at Long’s request.

“The Parents’ Bill of Rights is new, and even though it does not affect a lot of things, it affects some things, and everybody wants to make sure they’re doing the right thing,” he said. “They’re trying to be careful.”

He added, “My understanding is the teacher sought clarification from her principal, her principal sought clarification, and that’s where we are right now, which is that she’s going to work through it, make sure it’s all done appropriately, and I expect she’s going to go into the classroom and make a fine presentation. My understanding is she’s done a great job in the past.”

Oh, y’mean the “Christian parental rights law”?

 

Christian Nationalist parental rights law.

It’s like being gay. MAGAts are worried that one exposure or mention ‘legitimizing’ it will proselytize their kid away from magic Jebus Even Christian bibles mention Judaism.I bet it’ll blow the kiddies’ minds if someone teaches them about atheism.

 

Russian journalist responds to lawmakers passing strict anti-LGBTQ+ law

Russian journalist Mikhail Zygar speaks with CNN’s Bianna Golodryga about lawmakers passing a strict anti-LGBTQ law that would ban all Russians from promoting or “praising” homosexual relationships or publicly suggesting that they are “normal.”

DeSantis-backed school boards begin ousting Florida educators

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/11/30/desantis-school-board-covid-00071305

This article is about the Covid mask controversy DeathSantis stirred up and pushed.   He was trying hard to keep tourism up and working poor parents at their jobs by making sure their kids had a place to go while the parents worked.   In places like Florida too many see school as a place to park their kids while they work, when the schools went to remote learning workers had to stay home.   Rather than make large spaces available like wealthy areas did to have the kids go to and be spread out leaving the parents free to work, poor people had to have one parent stay home.   DeathSantis felt the pain of the employers and business overlords and did everything he could to force schools to stay open with in person classroom learning with no Covid precautions.    That would have cost the state money besides DeathSantis and the wealthy parents send their kids to private schools who do use the precautions so what do they care if your kids get sick, your elderly poor get sick and die.   So this is the first nail in following science in Florida schools.   What will die in Florida schools next?  Biology?  Chemistry?   History most certainly, along with social studies.  But enforced right wing Christian ideology will flourish.   Hugs

Close schools

  New board members in two GOP-leaning counties essentially sacked their school superintendents over the span of one week.

A student raises his hand in class at iPrep Academy on the first day of school.
 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis put his weight behind dozens of conservative school board candidates across Florida during the midterms. Now they’re in office — and are purging some educational leaders who enforced Covid-19 mandates.

New board members in two GOP-leaning counties essentially sacked their school superintendents over the span of one week. The ousters were spurred by how the superintendents carried out local policies like efforts to support the rights of parents, an issue inflamed by schools imposing student mask mandates last fall in defiance of DeSantis.

 

And while not tied to the 2022 election, the school board in Broward County earlier this month fired its superintendent through an effort led by five members appointed by DeSantis. All combined, school boards with ties to DeSantis pushed out three superintendents in November alone — and each of them served over districts that implemented student mask mandates.

 
 

“We had a wave in school districts that spit in parents’ faces,” said state Rep. Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay), who earlier this year sought to punish schools with mask mandates. “And now the people who did that are gone.”

In Brevard and Sarasota counties, embattled school leaders have faced immediate pressure from newly-installed board members and offered to leave voluntarily rather than risk a vote on their terminations.

The boards in both counties now have conservative majorities who sought a change in leadership immediately after the midterms. Although school boards are nonpartisan posts, lines between Democratic and Republican candidates were drawn in many counties through endorsements from each party as well as outside groups. The newly-elected board members in these cases support parental rights while opposing critical race theory and teaching gender orientation in schools.

DeSantis in particular used his clout to endorse more than two dozen school board candidates during the 2022 election cycle, a rare move for a Florida governor that came with $1,000 cash contributions from DeSantis and other GOP lawmakers. Most of the candidates DeSantis endorsed won their elections and are now transforming the make-up of school district leadership and will have huge influence over policies affecting hundreds of thousands of students in the state.

Both Sarasota and Brevard’s school boards put the superintendents on the chopping block the same day that new members endorsed by DeSantis and conservative organizations like Moms for Liberty were sworn into office.

Sarasota board members called Superintendent Brennan Asplen’s job into question at a meeting Tuesday night specially called to discuss his contract. After fielding about four hours of public comment, mostly in support of the superintendent, board members vented criticisms over student performance in reading, how he handled masking students and a perceived lack of transparency from Asplen.

 
 

Understanding he may not have a job much longer, Asplen offered up his resignation on Monday night — the day before the board met to weigh his ouster. But the superintendent also fought at the meeting to keep his job by attempting to punch holes in the critiques from board members.

“I have a feeling I’m going to be fired after tonight because I just can’t hold this back,” Asplentold the board from as a preface.

Asplensaid that some of the board’s comments were “ridiculous” given that he had been at the school since 2020, a timeframe that included the Covid-19 pandemic. And yet despite the coronavirus uprooting education, Sarasota earned “A” grades from the state both years. The superintendent also claimed he was being shut out by board members since the election and noted that he enacted a mandatory student masking policy for only three weeks, and that was due to Sarasota’s board voting 3-2 in favor of the mandate.

“You have to get the politics out of this school district,” Asplentold the board. “This school district could be No. 1, but we shoot ourselves in the foot every single time. We are getting in our own way all the time.”

It was clear after Asplenaddressed the board that a separation would be imminent. Board members said they felt the relationship with the schools chief was “adversarial” and beyond repair. Many of the claims by Asplenwere “not accurate,” according to new board chair Bridget Ziegler.

“I am very concerned,” said Zeigler, who was endorsed by DeSantis and co-founded Moms for Liberty. “I don’t know how respectfully we build a relationship where we are functioning together for the right reasons with mutual respect.”

One Sarasota board member, Thomas Edwards, noted the similarity between the pushes to remove school leaders in Florida and elsewhere in the country, including in Berkley County, South Carolina, where a newly-elected school board fired a superintendent. Edwards suggested a possible political motive behind the move and lobbied for Asplen to be granted a chance to fix issues spelled out by the board.

 

“Whatever rationales I’m going to hear tonight, I really have to throw out the window. Because we just have to — all of as a community — look at the tealeaves,” Edwards said.

But Edwards fell short of reaching the majority of the board, including the members endorsed by DeSantis and other conservatives, who voted 4-1 to move forward with negotiating a separation agreement with the schools chief.

The local teachers union in Sarasota planned a rally in support of Asplen ahead of the meeting Tuesday and dozens lined up to speak on his behalf. But local organizers in Brevard County didn’t demonstrate when its superintendent, Mark Mullins, was pushed out last week.

Instead, the Brevard Federation of Teachers contented that Mullins’ ouster could lead to positive changes within local schools. Union leaders claim that district officials did too little to quell student discipline issues and lingering teacher vacancies facing the county.

“Students verbally and physically abuse teachers and staff, and there will be no end in sight unless meaningful systemic changes are made,” union leaders wrote in a statement Monday on social media.

Similar to Sarasota, the leadership shift in Brevard was aided by new board members. Discussions to split with Mullins came at the suggestion of Megan Wright, who was backed in her race by DeSantis and installed on the board and elected vice chair about four hours before triggering the change.

Elsewhere in Florida, new board members endorsed by DeSantis are also scoring leadership roles. In Lee County, for example, new board members Armor Persons and Sam Fisher, both endorsed by DeSantis, were elected as chair and vice chair of the school board, as reported by the Fort Myers News-Press.

 
 

With at least three superintendent jobs opening in Florida, these new-look school boards are now facing the critical task of finding new leaders.

Teachers union leaders are staying optimistic that these board members will be focused on supporting educators and staff in local schools, said Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union. And in choosing a new superintendent, they hope board members will pick candidates who are aligned with the community and not only DeSantis.

“Firing is the easy part,” Spar said. “The hard part is finding the right person.”

 
 

Recent comment and my reply on a post about the transgender heartthrob of the wild west.

Once and a while I get a comment I think deserves larger attention than it got.   So I make it a separate post hoping that people will talk about the subject some more.   Here is the original post.  https://scottiesplaytime.com/2022/11/27/meet-the-transgender-heartthrob-of-the-wild-west/   and the comment with my reply below.   Hugs

_______________________________________________________

I agree homosexuality has always been around and it’s why it’s referred to as an abomination in the Bible. God says it’s a sin and we’re given the reason as to why He calls it this. What is new, however, is the transgender and homosexuality push to teach this ideology in the schools. And, YES, they are trying to teach it. Where the problem comes in is when the LGBQT community tries to force THEIR views onto the conservative family. Christian families want nothing to do with this ideology. We don’t want it in our schools, in our businesses, in our churches or in our families. Now that doesn’t mean we would be ugly or rude to someone just because they’re gay, no, because that wouldn’t be right. It just means we believe what the Bible teaches and the Bible is quiet clear, those whose practice this sin, will die in it. Whether you believe in God or not doesn’t change this simple fact.


Hello ROBINDD4L. I read your comment and pondered if you are just a misinformed true believer or a troll. Not that it matters. I could explain to you that what that verse the abomination really referred to was temple boys being used by men for sex in some faiths, I could explain that it doesn’t matter what is or is not a sin as this is not a theocracy, never was intended to be, and so far it is not now. None of that really matters to what you seem most misinformed on. Let’s talk about that.

What you take as teachers pushing an ideology is that you somehow have lost track of the last 50 years, and the idea that you as a Christians won’t tolerate it in your communities, your schools, your families … is you are not everyone! The rest of us get a say in the PUBLIC and in PUBLIC schools. Your family is your business, but the rest of us have families and views also that don’t agree with yours. Look up the polls Robin. Times have changed. Get out of your bubble. The majority of people are accepting of gay people, same sex marriage, and yes also the trans community.

Here is what you don’t get. You think that not allowing you to oppress the LGBTQI+ means you’re being persecuted. Wrong. It doesn’t matter if you accept it or not, but the medical science and data is in. People are born gay; people are born with a different gender identification than they are assigned at birth. Look at the graphs on the side bar of this blog to understand the scientific data! Your religious views don’t matter, your knowledge is based on what people knew 2,500 years ago. This is 2022, we know and understand a lot more now.

It is not your school; it is the public school. And the public disagrees with you. You don’t want tolerance and acceptance taught in your schools to your kids, don’t send them to public schools. Simple. See what you are demanding is the rest of us live by your church rules, your religious views. No sorry we don’t have to. You want to fine. Don’t agree with gay sex, don’t have any. Don’t believe in transgender, don’t transition. Don’t want same sex marriage then don’t get married to someone of the same sex. But you have no right to stop anyone else from living the life they were born to live. The rest of us have rights also. We have the right to live equally in the US democracy. Not Theocracy, Democracy.

We know and understand that people are born LGBTQI+. Including the two that seem most mentioned the trans and the gays. Born that way. They have the right to have a full and open life just as people born cis or straight. Religion is a choice but being LGBTQI+ is not, you are born LGBTQI+. Society understands that now. We have learned and advanced tolerance and acceptance. What you call pushing ideology in schools is actually simply requiring tolerance and acceptance of diversity or difference. Just as no kid should be bullied or picked on for wearing a cross no kid should be picked on for wearing a pride / trans flag. Just as no kid should be bullied for reading the bible, no kid should be bullied for reading a book with gay or trans characters or subjects. That is what you are so afraid of, tolerance and acceptance. You want to indoctrinate what you believe is the only way, only good. It doesn’t work that way. Society has moved on.

On last thing, you talk about sin and those who practice this sin will die. Yes they will, eventually. Guess what, so will you. No joke, you are going to die also. Also this line was funny Whether you believe in God or not doesn’t change this simple fact. You still don’t get it. Your god doesn’t matter. Not to me. Not to the majority of the people in the US. Your god doesn’t set the laws nor the standards in a democracy. The US is a democracy. Here is the key, your god matters to you and in our country you have the right to worship that god yourself for yourself. You do not have the right to force me or anyone else to follow your god. We are tolerance of you. We insist you also be tolerant of us. That is what makes a civil society.

I am here if you want to really talk about the issue. Hugs

 

Unhinged Kari Lake Supporters Throw Tantrums Over the Certification of the 2022 Election

During the public comment period for Maricopa County, Arizona’s certification of the 2022 election results, Kari Lake’s conspiratorial supporters showed up to voice outrage because the county’s Republican officials won’t break the law and refuse to certify the results.

Republicans Want To Destroy LGBTQ+ Communities

Matt Walsh Blames Victims For Colorado Club Q Shooting

As Sam and Emma say the Matt Walsh types do not want gays and trans to be accepted and act like high priests to tell everyone it not only is wrong but to remove it from society.  Their goal with their hate is to return to a time when the LGBTQ+ and other minorities were not in the public square, were not seen.   Hugs 

Why Is Dennis Prager OBSESSED With Incest?

Trumper: His Balls Are Bigger Than Any Other President’s

With almost every supporter it came back to religion and god.  tRump loves god, Biden worships the devil.   No one knew what woke was, but they were sure there was a woke agenda.  These are the cult maga republicans And they vote.   Hugs