Miami-Dade School Board Rejects New Gender Textbook Over Fears It Infringes ‘Don’t Say Gay’

The Miami-Dade County School Board has reversed its decision to include two new sexual health textbooks for the upcoming school year, leaving students without sex education for the next several months.

The board voted on Wednesday in a 5-4 decision not to approve the sex education books it had earlier in April in a 5-3 vote, highlighting the challenges that Educators face after the so-called “Parents’ Rights Education” bill that will go into effect earlier this month.

The bill, known by opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, goes into effect on July 1 and prohibits educators from providing guidance on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten. up to third grade and in circumstances may be deemed inappropriate in other grades. The act drew fierce nationwide criticism from supporters and allies, who argued it was only intended to further stigmatize and marginalize already vulnerable LGBT+ people. and has the effect of isolating LGBT+ children in the classroom environment among their peers.

In the textbooks mentioned, designed to be distributed to middle and high school students, content includes contraception, prevention of the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, and how to Manage stress and relationships with sections dedicated to alcohol and drugs.

The book “Comprehensive Medical Skills” also includes a discussion of abortion procedures, which has become a definite sticking point for the local chapter of the County Civil Liberties Union, an Conservatives consider specific chapters in the book to be inappropriate.

“It goes into great detail about medical procedures like abortion,” Alex Serrano, director of the County Civil Liberties Defense, told Local 10.

“A lot of the content is age-inappropriate, usurping parental rights, and is scientifically inaccurate and not factual,” added Mr. Serrano while speaking at a meeting protesting the adoption of the textbook. faculty, specifically citing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that went into effect a few weeks ago.

Although the board initially voted in favor of including textbooks in the curriculum in April, their decision to reverse their previous vote prompted the president of United Teacher of Dade to issue a statement condemning the decision. plans to phase out textbooks and create a void for the upcoming year’s sexual health curriculum for middle and high school students.

Miami-Dade School District, the fourth largest in the nation, is less than a month away from the start of the fall semester, leaving more than 340,000 students enrolled in the district without a curriculum for the upcoming school year. .

Karla Hernández-Mats said in a statement on Wednesday: “We are disturbed by the continued efforts of extremist groups to censor books. “Our teachers are partners with parents and believe they should continue to be able to show their children content they are uncomfortable with. We respect the voices of parents and the choices they make for their children, not someone else’s children.”

The vote came after more than three hours of public comment, during which the vice president, Steve Gallon III, emphasized that of the more than 40 people who spoke, at least 38 said they supported the introduction of the textbooks. faculty into the curriculum.

“That’s 90% of the speakers spoke today – you count,” said Mr. Gallon, according to New York Times. “That data, to me, offers a greater opportunity to debunk and denounce this story that there is widespread opposition to the board’s adoption of these documents.”

“Our current… process protects parents and their children who don’t want to be exposed to this,” he added, who noted that he favors gender education textbooks. count. “But we can’t deny that parents want to give their children access to this incredibly important information.”

In sections of textbooks distributed by the County Civil Liberties Defense Organization prior to the meeting, the group described as defenders of “freedom and liberties at the local level” highlighted discussions discusses unwanted pregnancies and provides information about abortion and emergency contraception, such as Plan B.

“Teachers will give this material to children, which is illegal in the state of Florida, and ultimately the board that votes on this – your country, state and community, will look at all both of you are street vendors,” speaker Lourdes Galban, told the panel in public comment, according to Politico.

Staff at Wednesday’s public meeting emphasized that the deadline to get an approved textbook into the hands of middle and high school students for the upcoming school year could take as long as… four to eight months, which means many students can go without course content until halfway through. over the school year or longer.

This, one parent attending the meeting noted, creates a scenario where “the deposit is really too high.”

“We want the kids to be mentally prepared when the time comes,” said Marika Lynch, a mother of three, at the meeting. New York Times. “Would you like to receive this information by their teachers who are trained to do this in an age-appropriate manner? Or do you want them to get the information on their phone? ”

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