A Florida school district has removed its LGBTQ+ inclusive anti-bullying video as a result of the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
Back in March, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law after it was passed by conservative lawmakers across the House and Senate.
Under the legislation, teachers and schools are barred from discussing “sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
Since the archaic bill has been signed into law, school officials in the state have started implementing its harmful guidelines.
According to a report from Jacksonville Today, Duval County Public Schools removed an anti-bullying video as part of its crackdown on LGBTQ+ resources and materials.
The 12-minute video, which was created with funds from a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant, featured numerous tips and resources for creating safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students.
“The video was co-written by some students, and so it had very student-appropriate and student-specific language that was, you know, teenagers talking to other teenagers,” Gay-Straight Alliance faculty sponsor Scott Sowell told the publication.
“It’s one critical resource that is now no longer available to teachers to help support students.”
Sowell also expressed his disappointment with the district for removing the video without warning.
“If the district or individuals in the legal team are being held to a specific law, or piece of legislation or mandate that they have to change and edit this, then hopefully, they’ll be as transparent and communicate those changes to everyone involved, so things just don’t disappear,” he added.
In response to the helpful resource being taken down, district spokesperson Tracy Pierce revealed it was done for “legal” purposes.
“The materials you referenced have been removed for legal review to ensure the content complies with recent state legislation,” she told Jacksonville Today.
Alongside the video’s removal, the Duval school district announced plans to reduce its LGBTQ+ support guide.
The school board also introduced a new policy requiring school officials to effectively out students to their families if they use different names or pronouns on unofficial records, as reported by News4Jax.
Duval County Public Schools isn’t the only school district in Florida removing its LGBTQ+ resources and support.
Back in June, Orange County Public School District (OCPS) started to instruct teachers to refrain from wearing rainbow clothing and to remove their LGBTQ+ inclusive classroom decorations, like “Safe Space” stickers.
Queer teachers with same-sex partners were also discouraged from discussing or displaying photos of their loved ones.
Florida’s absurd ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill officially went into effect on 1 July.