Florida high school principal reassigned over transgender student athlete

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
A student publication at an Orange County high school has come under fire for including information about Florida's law requiring students to use restrooms according to their biological sex at birth.
A student publication at an Orange County high school has come under fire for including information about Florida's law requiring students to use restrooms according to their biological sex at birth. [ SARA D. DAVIS | Getty Images North America ]
Published Nov. 28, 2023

The big story: The role of gender in Florida public schools continues to stir debate as officials attempt to follow state laws governing sports participation, instruction, restroom use and other aspects of campus life.

The latest situation arose at a Broward County high school, where the principal and four other school employees have been reassigned amid an investigation into permitting a transgender student to play on the girls volleyball team, WTVJ reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald.

State Republican leaders have banned transgender females from playing on high school and college women’s sports teams, saying it is unfair. They also have restricted lessons about gender identity and sexual orientation, contending parents should decide when their children learn about the topics.

Laws on that front have prompted schools to scale back instruction and remove books from classrooms and libraries, despite the pleadings of LGBTQ+ students and allies who view the efforts as discrimination. The laws also have emboldened members of the public to challenge school materials, claiming they violate state law.

That happened this month in an Orange County high school, where local GOP officials complained about a student-led publication that they claimed contained “banned” content such as information about Florida’s school bathroom laws and definitions of terms such as “genderqueer” and “intersex,” Florida’s Voice reports.

District officials told Florida’s Voice that the publication was paid for by private funds and its content met with district policy.

Hot topics

Book challenges: Brevard County schools are set to resume book challenge reviews after a five-month hiatus, Florida Today reports. • Florida is part of a national debate over who gets to decide whether a book is age-appropriate for students, NPR reports.

Community schools: A Bay County high school has won approval to become a community school serving student and neighborhood needs, partnering with several service organizations, WMBB reports.

Free speech: A federal judge set a January court date to hear arguments on lawsuits challenging the State University System’s order to shut down chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine, Florida Phoenix reports.

New schools: Bradford County debuted Bradford Elementary School after eight years of planning and preparations, WCJB reports. • The Santa Rosa County school district is poised to break ground on its first new high school in 25 years, WEAR reports.

Public meetings: Questions have surfaced whether the Alachua County school district’s strategic planning committee, which includes school board members, held illegal meetings, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Teacher burnout: The Monroe County School Board is looking into adding early release days weekly, to give teachers extra time for planning and preparations, WLRN reports.

From the police blotter ... A Miami-Dade County mom was arrested after an incident in a school parking lot where she tried to break up a fight between her son and another student with her car, WSVN reports. • An Escambia County high school volunteer cheerleading coach was arrested on accusations of stealing more than $7,000 from the team, WEAR reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.

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