Education News

Florida school board rejects new sex ed textbooks

The 5-4 vote by the Miami-Dade County School Board on Wednesday leaves students without a sex ed curriculum.

The decision comes four months after the state passed a law banning certain instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom that critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The textbooks cover pregnancy prevention, understanding sexuality and sexually transmitted infections, drugs and alcohol, and relationships, according to descriptions in the book.

In April, the board approved middle school and high school versions of the Comprehensive Health Skills textbook. The decision was met with petitions from opponents, prompting a hearing in June to assess the petitions.

District Superintendent José Dotres appointed a hearing officer who recommended the board deny the petitions and adopt the textbooks.

But this week the board rejected them.

The controversy lands when conservatives around the country are pushing bills that would further marginalize members of the LGBTQ community.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a staunch conservative with a history of supporting anti-LGBTQ causes, in March signed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill.

The law states that “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

Gina Vinueza, a mental health professional and mother of two in the county, spoke in favor the textbooks at Wednesday’s hearing.

“If the board does not approve the textbooks, they will be taking away the rights of everyone to public education that is based on facts and science,” she said.

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