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FDOE tells school districts that federal guidance on transgender access to bathrooms can be disregarded

Dr. Anntwanique Edwards tell the school board on December 8, 2021, that they have no “wiggle room” and must provide transgender students access to the bathroom of their choice

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – A memo from Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. was recently sent to all public school districts, private schools, and charter schools in Florida to provide guidance in response to recent efforts from the federal government to expand the application of Title IX to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The guidance from Diaz states that allowing biological males who identify as female to use female bathrooms (as Alachua County Public Schools currently do), locker rooms, or dorms or to compete on female sports teams may “jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of Florida students and risk violating Florida law.”

The federal guidance issued on May 5, 2022, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that any organization that uses USDA Food and Nutrition Service funds (such as school lunches) must update their non-discrimination policies and signage to include prohibitions against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation and must investigate allegations of discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. The guidance says it is in line with President Biden’s Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation and is consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, in which the Court held that the prohibition on sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

However, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) guidance states that these documents “are not binding law, do not create any new legal obligations, and should not be treated as governing law.” The FDOE guidance further states that nothing in the federal guidance documents “requires you to give biological males who identify as female access to female bathrooms, locker rooms, or dorms; to assign biological males who identify as female to female rooms on school field trips; or to allow biological males who identify as female to compete on female sports teams.”

The memo concludes by saying that FDOE “will not stand idly by as federal agencies attempt to impose a sexual ideology on Florida schools that risk the health, safety, and welfare of Florida students” and says that further rules will be forthcoming from FDOE.

Alachua County School Board policies

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Dr. Anntwanique Edwards presented the current district policies to the board on December 8, 2021, saying that they don’t have any “wiggle room” on allowing biological males who identify as female to use the bathroom of their choice because of Bostock v. Clayton County, along with the Florida Constitution, Florida Anti-Discrimination law (which prohibits discrimination on the basis of “gender”), and several federal laws that have been extended to protect transgender students from discrimination. School board policies have been updated so that every policy prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex now reads “sex (including transgender status, sexual orientation, or gender identity).”

The school board’s “LGBTQ+ Critical Support Guide” states that “All students are allowed to access restrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity or be provided appropriate accommodations.” When School Board Member Mildred Russell asked Dr. Edwards about the mental health and safety of girls who might be concerned about sharing a bathroom with biological males, Edwards replied that the girl who is uncomfortable can request accommodations, but based on “what the law says,” they “don’t have wiggle room” when it comes to allowing students to access restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity.

The school district also has a “Transgender/Gender Non-conforming Gender Support Plan” that schools can use to document a student’s preferences for “affirmed name”; pronouns; “expectations in the event the student is feeling unsafe”; facilities including restrooms, changing rooms, and accommodations for school-sponsored trips; and support in after-school programs and clubs. The plan has a long list of situations in which the student’s privacy will be taken into account and requires a plan for each one; among these is a requirement to have a plan to account for the student’s privacy in “Office school-home communication” and “Unofficial school-home communication (PTA/other),” which may violate the Parental Rights in Education Act if it has not been updated since December.

Memo also tells school districts and schools to disregard “suggestions” from FDACS

Diaz also writes that school districts and schools should “disregard any suggestion” from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services that they must comply with the federal guidance, including a federal requirement to post “And Justice For All” posters in schools, “as doing so may create a conflict with Florida law.”

According to the USDA, the poster “is to be prominently displayed” in any institution that participates in or administers USDA programs, such as the National School Lunch Program.

Showdown ahead on school lunch funds?

At a press conference today, Governor Ron DeSantis said, “Biden is now threatening to penalize states that have taken basic, common-sense actions like just recognizing the importance of women’s sports. They’re threatening to take away lunch money from poor kids as punishment for us protecting women’s sports. Think about how deranged that is. They’re so intent on destroying the competition of women’s athletics that they’re going to use school lunch money for poor kids as a cudgel to try to get us to submit to what they want? We’re not backing down one inch on this.”

  • Biden and his gang are traitors and criminals. They are to be resisted in every legal and non-violent way possible. They cannot force their way on the people of Florida with regard to queer ideology or anything else.

    • Seems like Gainesville will get on their knees for Kamala, Michelle Obama, Gavin Newsom, etc…

  • These poor girls these days have to deal with these pervert boys pretending to be girls. Pisses me off.

  • So endanger 99.9 per cent of our children for .01percent, I dont think so , your fired.

  • Parents shouldn’t bring kids into this world if they can’t educate and feed them…it’s called personal responsibility. Don’t worry about no free lunch in school…they can pack a brown bag lunch because the poor already receive food stamps. Gender identity should not be addressed until
    after puberty and you can decide for yourself after you are 18 and considered an adult.

  • Biden is busily causing panic. He just declared, according to “Alexa” [according to the web….] that MONKEY POX is a NATIONAL HEALTH HAZARD…..There are only 45 reported cases? Why is a president being directed to say such things.
    It’s always stated, …”men identified as women” as using womens facilities…never do you read, “…women, identifying as men….” using male locker rooms and facilities. This is fear mongering. Females are more likely to emotionally react to the idea of genetic males being in female areas…..men would just be 5heir regular piggy selves if any female (including changed…) entered a male facility. Again, double standards….

    • Six thousand cases of Monkeypox in the US. But they are too politically correct to address the affected community directly. So it’s a ‘national’ emergency instead of a gay emergency.

  • Universal Design for Learning is a good principle here. Instead of having boy and girl “gang” bathrooms make ALL the bathrooms and changing rooms for one person at a time so that EVERY individual can have privacy and then it’s not an issue. Why does any gender need to use the bathroom as a group?!? This has been making males and females uncomfortable for decades. Seriously, how many bullying incidents start with something that happens in a group bathroom at school regardless of gender? Lots!

  • Diaz is correct. The Biden criminal gang is trying to push the radical queer agenda down our throats. They can go to hell.

  • All of this queer agenda stuff is meant as a diversion. We really need to be concerned about the content of the curriculum and how it is being taught. Kids deserve better. The radicals would love to confuse us with side issues, while they proceed with their CRT agenda.

  • These federal A**Hats are blatant in their attacks on women. It is a crime that a boy has more rights to be in a female bathroom than a girl has to the right to privacy and to feel secure in that female bathroom. The left has declared a war on women

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