People shouted, security was called, and school board members caved.

A tense meeting of the Miami-Dade School Board ended with a vote to silence LGBT students, the latest example of state-sanctioned hate in Florida. Just a year removed from an overwhelming vote in favor of recognizing October as LGBTQ History Month, the board voted overwhelmingly against the measure.

Heated advocates on both sides of the issue spoke out during public comment. Some in the district believe recognizing LGBTQ History Month would violate Florida law. This year, the legislature passed the Parental Rights In Education Act, better known by its more accurate nickname: “Don’t Say Gay” (DSG). The law prevents any discussion of sexuality in kindergarten through third grade. Parents can sue districts and the state can intervene if they believe it is being violated.

While the law doesn’t specifically mention the LGBT community, it is motivating school districts to remove any recognition of even the existence of the LGBT community or students. Many have removed books from libraries because they have gay characters or mention homosexuality. Some districts have enthusiastically embraced DSG by removing books and altering curriculum without any public pressure or backlash. School board member Christi Fraga takes that same tone, telling Politico, “I do believe this is in direct violation of our parental rights bill. If not so directly, in spirit, it is.”

It was in that spirit that she voted against LGBT recognition.

Board member Lucia Baez-Geller introduced the idea and was the lone vote of support. She also spoke truth to the liars who came out against LGBT students, saying, “This item does not indoctrinate students, it does not force an agenda on students. As was stated incorrectly, this item does not take away parental choice.”

The law was allegedly designed to protect children from being sexualized by adults. But adults at the meeting had no problem attacking students, often trying to shout them down when they stood up for their LGBT classmates.

Youth activist and PRISM President Maxx Fenning told SFGN this is another example of hate hiding behind power.  

“The Miami-Dade School Board's decision to not recognize LGBTQ+ History Month shows how the vagueness of the ‘Don't Say LGBTQ’ law scares school districts into overinterpreting it and erasing the most vulnerable students in our schools. LGBT History is American History and deserves to be recognized in the classroom.”

DSG is being challenged in court, but the case could take years to resolve.


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