Alachua County Public Schools pulls LGBTQ+ Critical Support Guide after letter from Florida Dept of Education

Dr. Anntwanique Edwards presents the LGBTQ+ Critical Support Guide to the school board on December 8, 2021

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) has told the Florida Department of Education that it will no longer use its LGBTQ+ Critical Support Guide as guidance for district employees and students.

The Guide was presented to the school board on December 8, 2021, and Alachua Chronicle wrote about that presentation here. In that meeting, Dr. Anntwanique Edwards, the Chief of Equity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement for the School District, told the school board that an “Action Item” in the Guide stating that “All students are allowed to access restrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity” was based on federal law: “It’s based on what the law says… And so we don’t have wiggle room… We have to give those students, by law, the opportunity to choose, if they so choose, to go to a male or female restroom.” 

However, staff acknowledged that because state law prohibits biological males from playing girls’ high school sports, the same guidance did not apply to sports.

Since that time, the Florida legislature passed the Parental Rights in Education bill, which requires a school district to notify parents if there is a “change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional or physical health or well-being and the school’s ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for the student.”

A letter from Jacob Oliva, Senior Chancellor for the Florida Department of Education, to ACPS Superintendent Shane Andrew on November 18 stated that after initial review, it appeared that ACPS’ policies had not yet been updated to comply with revised Florida law and State Board of Education rules. The letter specifically mentioned the following policies, found in the Guide, “that may not comport with Florida law”:

  • The Student Privacy policy, which states that “personal information about the student, including their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, will not be shared without the students’ or parents’ consent” [emphasis added by Oliva].
  • The Names and Pronouns policy, which states that students are “to be referred to by their consistently-asserted name and pronoun(s) as provided by the student, affirming their identity.”
  • The Restrooms/Locker Rooms policy, which states that students are “allowed to access restrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity or be provided appropriate accommodations. If accommodations are desired, decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, and should be student-driven, with the support of district staff and participation of parents where possible and appropriate.”
  • The Gender-based Rules policy, which states that if students are to be separated based on gender, “students should be permitted to be grouped with peers of the gender with which they identify. This should be a student-driven decision based on the student’s comfort and safety, with the support of district staff and participation of parents where possible and appropriate.”

Oliva’s letter requested an update on the district’s policies by December 9, and Andrew sent a letter to Oliva on December 9. In the letter, Andrew said that the district “pulled this guide and removed it from our website… Given the findings and guidance from your November 18, 2022 correspondence, we will not reinstate the guide, and it will not be used as guidance for district employees and students moving forward.”

Andrew also promised to “collaborate with the Florida Department of Education prior to any implementation [of a new policy, procedure, or guide] to ensure that we are in compliance with all laws.” Andrew noted that the policies were never adopted by the Alachua County School Board; as our article described, the Guide was presented to the board in a workshop, with no votes taken. However, then-Board Chair Rob Hyatt said near the end of the workshop, “This is in no way new for our district… Most school districts in Florida are doing this, and I think there is no room for anything but support for these students… As educators, it is our duty to make sure that all students are welcomed as a vital part of their community.”

Then-Board Member Mildred Russell had raised concerns about the safety of girls sharing restrooms with biological males, but Edwards replied, “I think at the end of the day, what’s most important for us is to make sure that we are considering, as you have stated, the mental health and wellbeing of all students.”

The Board of Education will meet at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, December 14, to discuss the status of district policies and procedures for student services, among other items.

  • my tax dollars should be going to teaching critical thinking, not some marxist woke garbage! 95% of 620 E University Avenue should be fired!

    • If you don’t have any kids in the school system, you should be exempt from paying school tax.
      You should be paying a user fee for each kid you have in the school system. Don’t breed em if you can’t educate & feed them…

  • Children should NOT be taught sexuality by any adults except after 18 and graduated. Any unrelated adult is a potential groomer, and yes related ones sometimes are, too.
    Focus on real education so kids grow into productive — not destructive — citizens. Period. Mental illness and suicides increased since the Sexual Revolution began and it’s still worse, despite what “experts” teach kids the last 50 years. Fact.

  • When will Them, They and Useless start trimming uneeded positions, programs, and oversight? Quit trying to circumvent the law. Next penalities from the State will be expensive and swift. Maybe consider cease and desist. ACSB, You don’t own my kids, so stay in the Education Lane , not political agendas.

  • My question is who is responsible when that male who feels he is a female today goes into a female bathroom or locker room then realizes he’s a male then rapes some poor true female that he fine in there

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