A school board in Florida has rejected a measure that would have designated the month of October as LGBTQ History Month following backlash from parents.
According to WPLG, the Miami-Dade school board voted 8-1 against action H-11, proposed by board member Lucia Baez-Geller, on Wednesday, arguing that the proposed action may conflict with Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act.
School Board chair Perla Tabares Hantman and School Board vice chair Steve Gallon III, as well as School Board members Luisa Santos, Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Lubby Navarro, Mari Tere Rojas, Marta Perez, and Christi Fraga voted against H-11.
H-11 states that "The month of October has been established to remind all cultures within our wider community of the important roles that LGBTQ people have taken in shaping the social, historical, legal, and political worlds we live in today."
"A number of LGBTQ historical events and people of all races have contributed to the history of equality for all people, and LGBTQ individuals have made and continue to make lasting contributions to strengthen the fabric of American society," the measure’s text continued.
"The District appreciates and recognizes the importance of LGBTQ History Month as an effective means of educating and calling to action our community to work together by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and increasing visibility and raising awareness," the measure continued.
The measure states that under Florida State Statues, students are required to learn about "The history of the United States, including the period of discovery, early colonies, the War for Independence, the Civil War, the expansion of the United States to its present boundaries, the world wars, and the civil rights movement to the present," and said that 12th grade students taking US Government courses should learn about the 2015 ruling Obergefell v. Hodges, and the 2020 ruling Bostock v. Clayton County as part of the curriculum.
Wednesday’s school board meeting reportedly went on for more than six hours, with WPLG reporting that more than 100 people spoke during the public comment section.
One speaker, Alejandro Serrano, said that the measure would go against Florida laws.
School Board Attorney Walter James Harvey said that while the recognition of the month itself may not break the law, subsequent curriculum offerings could be.
Baez-Geller said that parents would be able to opt out of the 12th grade academic aspects of the measure, adding that "We currently at Miami-Dade County schools don’t have an LGBTQ curriculum."
"This item does not indoctrinate students. It does not force an agenda on students," she continued.
Fraga said that she had voted last year against the recognition, and would be doing so again in part because the measure creates a "hostile" environment and uncertainty.
"If we are going to allow the teachers to decide what will be taught in classrooms during this time, that concerns me," Fraga said.
According to Politico, Fraga said the measure was a "symbolic gesture," and was hijacked by "ugly falsities" and "just plain disinformation."
Rojas said that she doesn’t think he recognition and subsequent lessons would be in accordance in state laws, adding that recognition of the month would conflict with Hispanic Heritage Month.
"We must remember it is imperative to note that 73.3% of the students that we serve are Hispanic," Rojas said. National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
While some parents and members of the public that spoke at the meeting expressed messages of support, saying "LGBTQ history is American history," many others spoke out against the measure, calling it a "sleazy" way to get around the Parental Rights in Education bill passed earlier this year.
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