In Florida, teaching gender identity or sexuality may cost certification under new policy
The Florida Board of Education on Wednesday voted to approve new disciplinary rules for teachers who don’t comply with the expanded Parental Rights in Education law.
Under this policy, teachers can have their certification revoked or suspended if they talk about gender identity or sexuality, or use a student’s preferred gender pronouns.
The same goes if a teacher allows a student to use a bathroom that aligns with their gender identity.
Dozens of people spoke out against the policy at the board’s meeting in Orlando. Belinda Flores is the mom of a Queer student.
“Parents of non-binary or LGBTQ students are being treated as second-class citizens," said Flores. "We wave these flags of parents’ rights in this state, and yet my rights as a parent are not being respected because if my child with my approval wants to be addressed with they/them pronouns, the teacher can choose not to do that."
Frank Mataska also spoke against the policy at the meeting. He's been a teacher in Florida for eight years, and identifies as gay.
“Under this new rule students will not learn about the fullness of folks like Bayard Rustin or Sally Ride. Gay people are more than our sex lives in the same way that heterosexual people are," said Mataska. "This rule erases us for no other reason than our sex and as a result it's unconstitutional.”
Only students in grades 9-12 can learn about gender identity and sexuality in Florida, and only if it is required as part of state standards or sex education. Read the new disciplinary policy here.
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