Duval County School Board Hosts Workshop to Rework LGBTQ+ Support Guide

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – The Duval County School Board met Tuesday for a workshop to discuss the district’s LGBTQ+ student support guide.

The district document has been under intense scrutiny since the Law “Parental rights to education” has been adopted and the district is considering reworking the guide.

The DCPS LGBTQ+ Support Guide outlines district procedures for employees to support and protect members of this community. The guide was produced by the District Department of Health and Physical Education and the Office of Equity and Inclusion. The guide is not considered district policy, but rather an established set of guidelines.

LILY: DCPS LGBTQ+ SUPPORT GUIDE

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A new version of the 37-page LGBTQ+ support document described as “an essential tool at a critical time”, will soon be revamped.

It serves as a guideline for how school districts should handle school scenarios where LGBTQ+ issues might arise. These issues include bathroom usage, pronouns, nighttime excursions, dress codes, balls, inclusive language, and other sensitive topics.

Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene’s statement in the guide emphasizes the need for students to feel safe at school. It reads in part:

In April, school board member Charlotte Joyce tabled a resolution that would remove certain phrases from the support guide regarding communicating with parents.

Its resolution specifically highlights the phrase “it is never appropriate to disclose a student’s sexual orientation to a parent,” claiming it is a violation of the “parental rights” law.

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However, Joyce’s resolution did not include the full sentence which reads: “With the very limited exception involving the imminent fear of physical harm, it is never appropriate to disclose a student’s sexual orientation. to a parent.”

The document covers applicable federal, state, and local laws and ordinances that dictate how schools should handle school scenarios where LGBTQ+ issues may arise, including toilet use, nouns, pronouns, nighttime excursions, dress codes, prom events, inclusive language and many more. other subjects.

“This guide will help our educational community realize the rights that each of us must be affirmed, protected and fulfilled,” said a preface written by Dr Greene. “This guide will also support our responsibility to affirm, protect and respect our students.”

The document was brought back to the fore when the “parental right” law was signed by the governor. Scheduled to take effect July 1, the law limits how the topics of gender identity and sexual orientation are taught in Florida schools and outright bans all teaching of those topics from kindergarten through the 3rd year.

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The main message from the DeSantis administration has been that the law is supposed to allow parents to have full control over all conversations about gender identity and sexual orientation with their children, saying it is a way to protect children from “indoctrination”.

“We will ensure that parents can send their children to school to receive education, not indoctrination,” DeSantis said before signing the measure on March 28.

Meanwhile, the DCPS Support Guide recognizes that some LGBTQ+ youth are at risk of being rejected and/or abused at home.

“Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ youth may experience parental rejection and/or abuse based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” the guide said. “The degree to which teachers and administrators need to be sensitive to this issue cannot be overstated. In short, it’s a compliment when a student trusts you enough to come out. It is up to you to prove that you are worthy of this trust.

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The guide clearly underlines the importance of protecting children from bullying, harassment and discrimination based on their gender identity or sexual orientation, even if the source of these tribulations is in their own home.

Conservative lawmakers, pundits, and anti-LGBTQ activists have argued that advocating for LGBTQ rights is a form of “grooming” or “sexualizing” minors, though these arguments fail to take into account the difference between a person’s sexual orientation and sexual activity.

The Help Guide includes a one-page “Action Steps” list that provides key definitions, resources, and a list of key action steps for DCPS employees to take. one of the stages is titled “identity” and states: “All LGBTQ+ students have the right to decide when and with whom their gender identity and sexual orientation is shared, including with a student’s family. »

The document makes it clear that the working philosophy of Duval County Public Schools is that every individual, including a student, should be protected from harm and that their right to individuality and control of their own identity is among the more important to preserve.

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The workshop was to start at 9:00 am. This is not a public event and there will be no voting of any kind.

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