School district’s Draft LGBTQ+ Guide includes changes in policies for student privacy, bathrooms, field trips, dress code, and more


ALACHUA COUNTY, Fla. – A draft version of Alachua County Public Schools’ (ACPS) updated LGBTQ+ Support Guide has been posted in advance of Tuesday’s School Board meeting (6 p.m.), and parents should be aware of some interpretations of Florida statutes in the Guide.

ACPS pulled its previous guide after receiving a letter from the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) in December 2022, calling out specific policies that “may not comport with Florida law.”

Student privacy

The previous Guide stated that personal information about a student “will not be shared without the students’ or parents’ consent.” The new Guide states, “Personal information about a student, including his or her sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, will not be shared without the parents’ consent if the student is a minor.”

However, the updated Guide adds this interpretation of whether information about a student’s gender identity must be shared with parents: “The simple knowledge of a student’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity, without related concerns about the student’s health, safety, or well-being, would not be considered a change in services or monitoring.” That interpretation appears to relieve school personnel of the responsibility to share this information with parents unless they “have questions about their child being LGBTQ+ and have contacted the school district.” The Guide adds, “Students should be encouraged to speak with their parents about sensitive and personal information.”

Names and pronouns for students

The previous Guide stated that “all students are to be referred to by their consistently-asserted names and pronouns.” The new Guide states that a “chosen name, preferred name, or nickname by a student may be honored by school staff” and adds that parents may provide written consent to use a student’s preferred name and pronouns, after which “staff may honor the request… but is not required to do so.”

The Guide lists several statutes, including:

  • Sex means classification of a person as male or female at birth. Fla. Stat. §1000.21(19)
  • It shall be the policy of every public [educational institution] that a person’s sex is an immutable biological trait and that it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex. Fla. Stat. §1000.071(1).

Based on the second statute above, the Guide says, “the better practice would be to use preferred names rather than pronouns at all, including gender-neutral pronouns. The statute does not make it false to use a student’s preferred name when the parent has given written consent.”

According to the Guide, parental consent is not required if a student prefers to use a nickname that is a “diminutive of his or her legal name, such as Billy for William or Susie for Susan. However, to avoid any issues about the use of nicknames, parents are advised to list any nickname used by the child, whether it be a diminutive or not. For example, ‘Sam’ is a diminutive for ‘Samantha,’ but it is also a diminutive for ‘Samuel.'”

The guide states that “all non-official records and verbal communications should reflect the student’s preferred name. Non-official records include such things as yearbooks, general rosters, substitute plans, seating charts, graduation rosters, bus seating charts, and newspapers/newsletters.”

In a section that may not comply with the statutes above holding that a person’s sex is “an immutable biological trait,” the Guide states that although a student’s “legal name or gender marker” cannot be changed on any legal documents without a court order, if ACPS receives a court order “for a legal name change, an amended birth certificate, or amended state identification, legal documents will be updated to reflect the student’s new legal name and gender marker.”

Violations of these policies regarding preferred names can lead to discipline of a student who uses the wrong preferred name if that action is determined to be “harassing or bullying.”

Classroom instruction

This section of the Guide attempts to clarify what is considered “classroom instruction” under state statutes. It says that grades or comments on student work (for example, an essay about the student having two mothers) should focus on organization and correct grammar and syntax “and not the specific topic.”

These items are also not considered to be “classroom instruction”:

  • Keeping a photograph of the teacher’s family on the teacher’s desk, same-sex relationship or not;
  • Being the faculty advisor of a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA);
  • Posting a “safe space” sticker;
  • Intervening when an LGBTQ+ student is being harassed or bullied.

The section concludes, “Further, it is not permissible to provide classroom instruction on being straight.”

Field trips

The previous Guide instructed school staff to group students with “peers of the gender with which they identify,” and the FDOE letter objected to that policy. The new policy calls for “Reasonable accommodations… to allow all qualified students to attend and participate in a safe and equitable manner.”

The new Guide states that if students “will not be separated by biological sex at birth” on multi-day field trips, “the impacted parent will be notified of the manner of separation.” It adds that “Schools… shall not disclose the student’s transgender status to other students or other students’ parents. This may require extra planning to ensure overnight lodging room assignments are approved by the parents. Every situation is unique and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.”

Restrooms/locker room

The previous Guide said, “All students are allowed to access restrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity or be provided appropriate accommodations,” and FDOE listed this as one of the problematic policies. The new Guide states that “single-user unisex bathrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms… will be available on every campus in the Alachua District Schools for any transgender student.”

Dress code

This section states that dress code policies “should not be enforced in a manner that impacts students in a discriminatory or disparate manner.” Specifically, “shirts with gay-friendly slogans, rainbows, or other messages supporting of the LGBTQ+ community are permissible unless it is determined that the clothing created a significant disruption to the learning environment.” This disruption must be “objectively provable to other people” and cannot be considered disruptive “simply because a teacher or administrator personally considers the message to be offensive.”

Federal laws and state statutes

There is a list of federal laws and state statutes near the end of the Guide, with this interpretation of IDEA and Section 504, federal laws that guide policies on students with disabilities: “While being LGBTQ+ is not a disability, an IEP or 504 Plan can provide support and accommodations that enable the student to succeed. And for some students, the anxiety, depression, or psychological distress caused by not having their identities affirmed at school can qualify them for an IEP or 504 Plan.”

  • America, and Gainesville in particular, strongly resemble an old fashioned psychiatric ward (preferred pronoun — NUT-house).

  • It wouldn’t be necessary if public schools focused on education again, instead. Don’t students need improvement there? Why the attempted personality brainwashing before? Always the same answer: to cultivate personal problems, make more dependency on gov’t, and then group people into Dem voter blocs of the future.

  • ACPS is a joke! While they worried about this nonsense, so much academic slack is happening and as always no one cares about the teachers.

    • If they spent this much time making school busses actually show up to get kids to school then maybe we would have a reliable school bus system

  • China Joes regime is alive and divisive within this School Board and political hacks. Continue to focus on a non – educational agenda and further you crumbling reading, math and test scores.

  • It appears the “leadership” of the SBAC is following the established procedures and orders of other community leaders in directing their respective legal counsels by directing the School Board Attorney to find ways to circumvent the state laws than complying with the laws enacted by the state legislature.
    People wonder why many children have little to no respect for authority.

  • I hope people all realize that this whole fake, anti science “fact” was started by the Democrats in the Obama/Biden administration. One of their legacies. Isn’t it wonderful?

    • Wow, I didn’t know that. Oddly, I recall first encountering gay people in 1968. And a transwoman in 1980. Hmmm.

  • Remember this statement, within the next three to five years, SBAC aka the great social experiment will have private classrooms, busses, bathroom and shower facilities just to name a few for those kids who have already been brainwashed by the SBAC and their useless parents.
    And who is going to pay for all of that? You get one guess.

  • Thus is why parents need to very proactive in their children’s education. Everyday there should be a conversation of what they are learning and what is going on in the schools and classroom. What the teachers are saying to them. If there are questionable teaching challenge it. Look what just happened in another state when a child who has a interest in the Revolutionary Era had a navel patch on his backpack and the school deemed it racist and when parents questioned it the SB had to back down.

  • At a quick read, it looks like a fair attempt at obeying the rules. I am not a fan of any of this, but it is a good job….

    • Most comments here are apparently based on the assumption that there is no such thing as gay or transgender kids in school, so theIr rights and struggles is not something teachers have to deal with. This is just ignorance

      • Speaking of ignorance, you have an odd obsession with conflating gay people with trans people. Gay people have been accepted by the majority for many years now.

        Regardless, government schools really aren’t the proper place to teach sexuality to any child.

        • Slice, both gay and transgender people are facts of life, though there are many more of the former than the latter. The guidelines are about how to treat students, not classwork.

          • True facts of life don’t just appear out of thin air when politically convenient. True facts of life don’t need the full force of government and media behind them. True facts of life don’t automatically conflate two types of people into one (gay ppl trans ppl).

            Anyone using logic and basic biology can instantly smash your party-line talking points on the trans agenda. The trans agenda is nothing but a division tactic that must be stomped out! This crap is ripping public/government schools apart…and they were already limping badly before

          • Wait, aren’t trans kids also gay mostly? So a boy imagines himself as a girl and wants to be a girl to attract boys. That’s gay no matter how you slice the pie.

  • Parents and Taxpayers stand up for your children.
    The Spreckels Union School District in Monterey County, California, has settled a lawsuit that alleged it encouraged a girl to change her gender while concealing the transition from her parents.

    The settlement came to $100,000 — $48,000 for the mother who was deceived; $48,000 to the girl who was the alleged victim; and $4,000 for medical expenses the plaintiffs had to incur with the California Department of Health Care Services

  • Soooooo, the school district is going above and beyond for these students, which I have no problem with them at all. But you guys don’t even teach these kids how write in cursive. SMH

    • Cursive is a lost cause, doesn’t really serve a purpose anymore. Teach them to balance a checkbook lol.

  • More word salad from the left. Wasting more money setting up committees and trying to create unneeded city departments just to give your buddies a job and raise. It’s simple let the police and sheriffs deputies do their jobs without the city and county commissions knees on their backs. The pressure needs to be applied to the state attorney and judges.

  • As hard as it is to watch the School Boards self inflicted quandry on this BS tonight, I have a question. Does Dr Rockwell have a law degree and passed the Bar?

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