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Dispute over Florida’s ‘don’t say gay’ bill intensifies as it heads to Senate

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
 
Ebonni Chrispin of AIDS Healthcare Foundation speaks at a press conference at the Florida state capital, hosted by Equality Florida, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign in opposition of HB 1577 (Don't Say Gay bill) on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Ebonni Chrispin of AIDS Healthcare Foundation speaks at a press conference at the Florida state capital, hosted by Equality Florida, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Human Rights Campaign in opposition of HB 1577 (Don't Say Gay bill) on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla. [ RICK WILSON | AP ]
Published Feb. 28, 2022

The big story: “Don’t say gay.”

The three-word phrase has become the catch phrase that defines a controversial bill working its way through the Florida Legislature.

Bill opponents say the moniker makes clear the measure’s intent to erase the LGBTQ community from school conversations. Bill supporters say it unfairly misrepresents the proposal’s intent to give parents more control over what their children learn, and when.

Where did this label come from? And why is it catching on?

Read our story about the messaging that’s taking place about HB 1557/SB 1834. Then check out the Senate Appropriations Committee debate on the the legislation. It’s on the panel’s meeting agenda that begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, has proposed amending the language to limit school discussion on “human sexuality” rather than “sexual identity,” Florida Politics reports. The House rejected a similar proposal last week.

Pushback against the legislation within the LGBTQ community and its supporters has remained vocal. Activists held a “Say Gay” rally in Sarasota over the weekend, WWSB reports.

Also today in Tallahassee, the House Education & Employment Committee is scheduled to meet at 3:30 p.m., with three bills on its agenda.

Hot topics

Antisemitism: A University of South Florida fraternity was suspended over an antisemitic pledge activity. Leaders of the Florida Holocaust Museum invited them to the museum for a history lesson.

Sexual harassment: Some Hillsborough County high school students complained about how their school handled sexual harassment complaints. The school has responded by holding forums and taking additional steps to let students be heard.

School board battles: Florida has become a hotbed for community disruptions of school board meetings over mask mandates and other politically divisive issues, USA Today Florida Network reports.

Board member pay: Salary cuts appear off the table for Florida lawmakers. But they continue to discuss the possibility of imposing board member term limits, Florida Phoenix reports.

Book bans: About 100 Polk County residents came out to oppose efforts to remove 16 titles from public school shelves, the Ledger reports. The district has created committees to review complaints about the books. • The Indian River County School Board also is dealing with requests to have 156 books removed, TC Palm reports. A review panel has proposed limiting access to five of them.

Other school news

Alachua County district and teacher representatives have reached a contract deal. Raises should arrive in March if both sides ratify the agreement, the Gainesville Sun reports.

The Broward County school district’s communication officer was cleared of wrongdoing for her part organizing a rally aimed at saving the superintendent’s job. District leaders are looking at rewriting the rules, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

An external audit raised red flags over a Leon County principal’s improper use of Advanced Placement funds. The district already had suspended the principal over the issue, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

The FHSAA is contemplating a major shift in high school football competitive classifications. The proposed change would put schools in Florida’s eight largest counties in one grouping, and place the other 59 in a separate set of classes, WJXT reports.

Before you go ... Feeling optimistic these days? Pessimistic? Which of these best defines you?

How do you see a glass of water?

Posted by 3-Minute Hacks on Friday, May 14, 2021

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