2022 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
My Note: This is what we will be seeing nation wide as DeSantis become more powerful. If he become president his bullying will become more overt. At his time Vegas odds have an implied probability of 22.2% and places him second in terms of favorites to be the next US President. He will likely campaign on his damaging Florida record which he unabashedly proud. Already we are seeing the cowering effect of his bullying, even from those that have previously supported us.
Last year, when the Miami-Dade School Board overwhelmingly supported a measure to recognize October as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) History Month, some board members said their decision was rooted in another step toward civil rights for all people.
At the time, Vice Chair Steve Gallon III said he was “obligated to support the item because my DNA compels me to support inclusion. It compels me to support equity, it compels me to support equality.”
The nine-member board passed the proposal in a 7-1 vote, with Board Member Christi Fraga dissenting and Board Member Lubby Navarro absent.
This year, though, during a marathon and contentious meeting Wednesday, the board voted 8-1 to reject recognizing October as LGBTQ month. Only Board Member Lucia Baez-Geller supported the observance; she put forth the proposal, both last year and this year.
This time, Gallon said, his personal beliefs must be divorced from his obligation to follow the law, despite his “love for all humanity, my commitment to inclusivity and access to representation.”
He expressed concern that Baez-Geller’s measure “did not fully comport with the law,” referencing Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed by critics as Florida’s “Don’t say gay” bill. In March, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law, prohibiting instruction related to gender identity or sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade and potentially restricting such instruction for older kids.
Gallon and seven other board members voted no on the October observance and no on allowing the district to explore teaching two landmark Supreme Court decisions impacting the LGBTQ community to 12th-grade students. To some, the board’s vote on Wednesday underscores the chilling effect the law is having on school boards in Florida.
“Nearly every board member opposing the resolution voiced their belief that the proclamation violated the Don’t Say LGBTQ Law, further evidence of the sweeping censorship of this law,” said a news release sent by Equality Florida, a civil rights organization that works with Florida’s LGBTQ community.
School board attorney Walter Harvey told the board Wednesday that he believed the measure was in compliance with the state law because it did not have changes to curriculum or instruction.
At the end of July, opponents to the law sued DeSantis, the Florida Board of Education and Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. in federal court in Tallahassee, challenging the law’s constitutionality. The case is pending.