As teachers prepare for DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay Law” to go into effect, a new report outlines how school administrators in Orange County received a legal briefing on how the district would change in order to comply. DeSantis’ discriminatory ultra-MAGA law – which goes into effect Friday, July 1st – will censor schools and restrict freedoms for Florida’s students and teachers.
Florida Democratic Party spokesperson Kobie Christian said: “Governor DeSantis’ extreme ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law disrupts classrooms and divides Floridians. Instead of focusing on divisive issues in order to build his national profile, DeSantis should be focused on improving Florida’s economy, making health care more affordable, and addressing our state’s affordable housing crisis.”
Here’s more on how Ron DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay Law would censor schools:
Representatives for Orange County teachers sounded alarm bells Monday after word spread from principals that Orange County Public Schools would impose strict restrictions on classroom behavior after the “Don’t Say Gay” law, took effect.
In private, administrators-only seminars last week, OCPS attorneys advised principals what behaviors would and would not be legal under the law during a “Camp Legal” presentation.
Teachers and staff members will be disallowed from wearing rainbow articles of clothing, including lanyards distributed by the district last year. Elementary-level teachers reported being discouraged from putting pictures of their same-sex spouse on their desk or talking about them to students.
“Safe Space” stickers aimed at LGBTQ students may have to be removed from doors, teachers will have to report to parents if a student “comes out” to them and they must use pronouns assigned at birth, regardless of what the parents allow, the CTA reported.
“It will be alarming if our district chooses to interpret this law in the most extreme way,” CTA President-Elect Clinton McCracken said. “We want them to protect student privacy. We want them to make sure that they’re creating and helping to create safe classrooms. We believe our school board supports that.”
A representative for OCPS confirmed the existence of the seminar. However, they said the guidance provided to the administrators was not a planned part of the seminar. “… administrators posed hypothetical scenarios based upon the new statutes and verbal answers were provided based on the limited guidance from the Florida Department of Education,” the spokesman wrote. “Once further guidance is received from the Florida Department of Education, the district will provide formal guidance to administrators and staff.”
An OCPS official said the district needed to err on the side of caution until state officials provided more clarity. The strict interpretations, they said, were necessary to protect both students and teachers. The latter could have their teaching licenses revoked if they run afoul of the law, the official said.
McCracken also called for transparency and said he was hopeful the rules would change. He also called for people to support teachers at the district’s board meeting Tuesday.
“This is a district that has been really on the forefront, leading the state to protect and make sure that we are providing safe places for our students,” he said. “I have faith that they will continue to be that kind of district.”