At a recent Leon County School Board meeting, Superintendent Rocky Hanna used a misleading CNN fact-check to publicly criticize Governor DeSantis’ rationale for the Parental Rights in Education bill, while ignoring facts related to a lawsuit filed against the school district.
The CNN fact-check uses selective comments from a DeSantis press conference, related to an incident which took place at a Leon County middle school, to question the rationale for the Parental Rights in Education bill.
The incident involved the failure of school officials to notify parents about a meeting with their daughter concerning gender issues. The parents have filed a federal lawsuit against the Leon County School Board.
Hanna, reading DeSantis’s comments from the CNN fact-check, said that “none of this happened, none of this is true, it is all fabricated…”
While DeSantis’s comments about the specifics of the incident were partly inaccurate, Hanna ignored facts that were consistent with the comments made by DeSantis.
What Hanna did not reveal in his comments to the school board is that school officials initiated an interview with the student as part of a “Transgender/Gender Nonconforming Student Support Plan” without including the parents.
Brandy Vance, a Leon County school teacher at J. Michael Conley Elementary School at Southwood, is not happy about the Parental Rights in Education bill and she recently took to Facebook to voice her concerns.
The Parental Rights in Education bill, which was recently signed into law, contains a provision that “prohibits a school district from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
Vance posted a 220 word explanation of her position related to issue with a picture of herself dressed in LGBTQ supportive attire on Conley Elementary school grounds.
The post included below, appears to have been removed from Facebook.
A proposed amendment requiring parental involvement when gender and sexuality issues arise at schools was withdrawn after LGBTQ advocates argued that informing parents would be dangerous to students.
The amendment, sponsored by Republican Representative Joe Harding, required school officials to facilitate a meeting between a student and parents to disclose child-specific information.
The amendment states that the “school principal or his or her designee shall develop a plan, using all available governmental resources, to disclose such information within six weeks after the decision to withhold such information from the parent.”
Florida Representative Carlos Smith (D – Orlando), an outspoken LGBTQ advocate, said the amendment would “make it even more dangerous for vulnerable kids with a STATE-MANDATED outing of LGBTQ students to parents, specifically in cases of abuse, abandonment + neglect. This will have devastating consequences for our youth..”
This position – that parents should not be notified when these issues arise – has been adopted through policies in many school districts throughout Florida via LGBTQ guides.
Emails from a Florida Capital Star information request show that Florida school officials in districts across the state have been recruited by Equality Florida to promote LGBTQ issues.
Equality Florida is a left-wing political group that advocates for civil rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBQT+) residents in Florida. The group has come out against the current Parental Rights in Education bill now being considered in the Florida Legislature.
The emails, covering 2016 to 2020, show how De Palazzo, the Safe & Healthy Schools director for Equality Florida, engaged one school district official form Leon County to help with Equality Florida’s mission.
In 2016, Palazzo reached out to Dr. Kathleen Rodgers and wrote “I am working and meeting in about 20 school districts and would be happy to assist your district as well in the form of direct service, meeting with teams, etc. A friendly reminder that there is no fee for service because I know that budgets are tight and for this important subject, fees could be a deterrent.”
Later emails indicate Rodgers became part of what Palazzo often referred to as a “team”
After a federal judge sided with the State of Florida and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) over its rulemaking authority regarding mask mandate ban and quarantine rules for students, the school districts who initially sued the state are filing an appeal.