The Florida Board of Education has adopted a measure preventing in-state public and charter schools from allowing transgender youth to use the restroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity without previously alerting parents with children in the school district and also making a public announcement online.
Also, Wednesday's ruling requires school boards with policies that allow transgender youth to use gender-separated facilities "according to some criteria other than biological sex at birth" to post the news policy to the school district's publicly available website.
The school boards must also inform parents of the policy's existence, by mail.
"What this rule is about, as I understand it, is parental notification," Florida Board of Education Chairman Thomas R. Grady said Wednesday, after the public was given a chance to comment on the matter. "It's not mandating what a particular bathroom looks like or doesn't look like or who can use it."
For the letters to parents, the schools must detail their plans for "student supervision" of the locker room areas, ensuring the utmost privacy of students.
According to reports, chaperones, such as coaches or other school staffers, may be placed in locker rooms where transgender youth are permitted to change, in accordance with their gender identity. The letters will also identify which locker rooms and restrooms in the children's schools are not separated by "biological sex at birth."
The exceptions are faculty restrooms that are not accessible to students, along with single-occupancy restrooms.
Grady also characterized the notion of notifying parents of school district policies, which affect their children, as an "issue" of constitutional free speech.
Moms For Liberty, a national conservative organization with several Florida chapters, reportedly lobbied the state Board of Education to protect girls from being assaulted by boys who "insincerely" claim to be transgender as a means of accessing girls' restrooms and locker rooms.
Alexis Spiegelman, the group's Sarasota County chapter chair, said policies that allow transgender students to use facilities consistent with their gender identity had been implemented across the county — often without the knowledge or consent of parents.
On Wednesday, Charlene Cothran, a former LGBTQ rights activist turned "ex-gay" advocate, reportedly voiced her support of the state Education Department's initiative.
"Parents absolutely have every right to be notified about bathroom and locker room access for confused students," said Cothran. "And I say confused students and not trans students. No girl has ever turned into a boy, and no boy has ever turned into a girl. There’s no such thing as a trans student."
The state Board of Education is essentially following the lead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed the Parental Rights in Education bill in late March.
As Newsmax chronicled then, DeSantis and other Republicans leaders viewed that measure as both reasonable and essential, in that only parents — and not teachers — can broach subjects of sexual orientation and gender identity with their children.
Florida's Parental Rights in Education bill explicitly states: "Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards. Parents would be able to sue districts over violations."
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