The Miami-Dade School Board on Wednesday night struck down a proposal that would have recognized October as “LGBTQ history month” out of concern that it would violate the state’s Parental Rights in Education law, known by opponents as “Don’t Say Gay.”
Miami school board members passed a similar resolution acknowledging LGBTQ history month in 2021 by a 7-1 vote but found themselves in a different situation this fall under the Parental Rights in Education law. The Republican-led Legislature approved the law in March and it continues to affect how Florida schools address issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Although the board’s own attorney said the recognition was on a solid legal footing, board members voted 1-8 against the idea after dozens of parents and community members raised their opposition at a marathon meeting.
“I do believe this is in direct violation of our parental rights bill,” said board member Christi Fraga, who voted against the measure. “If not so directly, in spirit, it is. Because this is saying a full endorsement in the entire district of this month — that includes kindergarten through 12th grade.”
Aside from recognizing October as LGBTQ history month, the proposal was tweaked this year to explore the possibility of providing resources for teachers in 12th-grade social studies to teach about “important landmark civil rights” cases. That includes the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling which recognized same-sex marriage and Bostock v. Clayton County, a 2020 high court decision that protects gay or transgender employees from discrimination.
The board member who introduced the proposal recognizing October as LGBTQ history month, Lucia Baez-Geller, claimed Wednesday that a “symbolic gesture” was hijacked by “ugly falsities” and “just plain disinformation.”
Her initiative, which directed school leaders to explore the feasibility of leading lessons about the Supreme Court cases, clearly outlined that any move must fall in line with “state curriculum standards, and all applicable state and federal law.” Baez-Geller said at the meeting that students would be able to opt out of the potential Supreme Court lessons.
“This item does not indoctrinate students, it does not force an agenda on students,” Baez-Geller said, stirring groans from the audience. “And, as was stated incorrectly, this item does not take away parental choice.”