ST. LOUIS — Months after causing a national uproar with its first book ban, the Wentzville School Board is expected to vote Thursday on a recommendation to yank another acclaimed book from school libraries. The school district's review committee voted 5-4 to pull the comic memoir "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel, citing graphic illustrations of sexual activity. "I stand by my initial decision to purchase this title. … However, based on my professional opinion and 18 years as a teacher in the WSD, I would have chosen to remove this book from our collection had I read it myself," a committee member ...
Stories Chosen For You
Ron DeSantis’ ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law goes into effect today as schools scramble to avoid parental lawsuits
Even before Republicans in Florida passed Governor Ron DeSantis‘ “Don’t Say Gay” bill some defenders of the anti-LGBTQ legislation insisted it applied only to kindergarten through third grade, and that anyone who opposed the bill – as the governor’s official spokesperson charged – was “probably a groomer.”
But LGBTQ advocates, activists, and supporters made clear the purposefully broad and vague language in the bill and the threat inserted into the legislation allowing parents to sue for perceived violations would have a chilling effect.
They were right.
The “Don’t Say Gay” law, officially the “Parental Rights in Education” law, goes into effect today, July 1, after DeSantis, at an event held at a charter school exempt from the legislation in March, surrounded by young children, talked about the bill and signed it into law.
Educators across the state’s 67 school districts are seeing just how extensive it is being interpreted and implemented, given the near-total lack of guidance from the DeSantis administration.
In March, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona issued a warning to Florida, saying “The Department of Education has made clear that all schools receiving federal funding must follow federal civil rights law, including Title IX’s protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“We stand with our LGBTQ+ students in Florida and across the country, and urge Florida leaders to make sure all their students are protected and supported,” he said.
But aside from that broadside, the federal government appears to be taking a wait-and-see approach.
Meanwhile, reports from across Florida say districts’ legal counsel have warned that teachers should remove LGBTQ supportive materials, including rainbow and pride stickers, and even stickers denoting a particular classroom is a “safe space,” They have warned teachers should not wear anything with a rainbow and should remove any family photos if they include a same-sex spouse or partner. That same warning did not go to teachers with different-sex spouses or partners, leading some legal experts to warn of constitutional violations.
LGBTQ teachers, especially those who teach students in grades K-3, have also been warned to not discuss their family lives or even mention same-sex spouses or partners. And teachers and other school officials have been directed to look for anything LGBTQ-related, including books in school libraries.
But it hasn’t stopped there. Teachers have been told they are required to report – “out” – any student who comes out as LGBTQ.
Spectrum News reports Florida’s Orange County Public Schools “held a legal camp for 600 principals, vice-principals, and junior administrators,” specifically telling them, “Teachers must notify parents if a student comes out as gay to them.” Not an administrator, but a teacher.
ABC affiliate WFTV reports that Orange County Teachers’ Association (CTA) says “teachers will have to report to parents if a student ‘comes out’ to them and they must use pronouns assigned at birth, regardless of what the parents allow.”
Elsewhere in Florida, if there are questions about a student’s gender identity before or during overnight school trips that student will be outed not only to their own parents but to the parents of all the students in their class.
NBC News reports on Tuesday “the Leon County School Board unanimously approved its “LGBTQ Inclusive School Guide,” which includes a provision to alert parents if a student who is ‘open about their gender identity’ is in their child’s physical education class or with them on an overnight school trip.”
“Upon notification or determination of a student who is open about their gender identity, parents of the affected students will be notified of reasonable accommodation options available,” NBC reports the guidelines read. “Parents or students who have concerns about rooming assignments for their student’s upcoming overnight event based on religious or privacy concerns may request an accommodation.”
NBC also reports that in late May, “the School District of Palm Beach County sent out a questionnaire asking its teachers to review all course material and flag any books with references to sexual orientation, gender identity or race, said a Palm Beach County high school special education teacher, Michael Woods. Several weeks previously, the district removed two books — ‘I Am Jazz’ and ‘Call Me Max’ — that touch upon gender identity, he said.”
In a column noting the continuing interference Republican Party members are running for Donald Trump as the Jan 6th Committee exposes more evidence of the former president's links to the Capitol insurrection, political scientist Jeffrey C. Isaac from Indiana University, Bloomington, singled out Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) as the man who could be the key to more information about that day's events.
While Jordan has demurred when asked to testify under oath before the committee, Isaac said his participation is even more critical after comments made by Cassidy Hutchinson during her bombshell appearance on national TV where she kept referring to him as "Jim."
Posing the question, "Was it merely the excessive anger and violence that boiled over? Were they [GOP lawmakers] basically onboard with Eastman’s legalistic fantasies that the Electoral College vote count might might be obstructed with only a minimum of disruption and violence?" he pointed the finger at the controversial Ohio Republican who is in line to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee if the GOP takes the House in November.
"There was a moment in Hutchinson’s testimony when this question briefly sprang into view. She commented that 'Jim' had been trying to reach Meadows by phone as the Capitol was being breached. 'Jim' was Representative Jim Jordan, one of the more notable Trumpists in Congress. The substance of the conversations between Jordan and the White House remains unknown, because Jordan has refused to cooperate with the committee," he wrote before making his case.
'"Jim' was one of the most violent and adamant promoters of Trump’s Big Lie," he accused. "After the violence of Jan. 6th subsided, Jim led the effort on the floor of the Senate to delay and obstruct the counting of the Electoral Votes, and was perhaps the most vocal and visible of the 147 Congressional Republicans who voted to overturn Biden’s victory.
Jim was as vociferous in his opposition to Trump’s second impeachment as he was to Trump’s first impeachment."
Adding, "In the months since Joe Biden’s inauguration, Jim has waged a relentless rhetorical war against the Democratic party and promised that if the Republicans retake the House in November, he will use his position as incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to organize a series of public hearings to investigate the Bidens, hearings that would surely make the Benghazi inquisition of Hillary Clinton in 2015 seem like a picnic," he suggested, "Perhaps it is the case that as the violent mob approached his position, 'Jim' was frantically trying to convince Mark Meadows to get Trump to do something to prevent the crowd from assaulting him and his friends. Or perhaps not."
"But whatever the case it hardly matters, because 'Jim' was innocent of nothing and complicit in everything that transpired that day," he concluded.
You can read more here.
The all-ages event was intended to mark the ending of Pride month, but organizers say they were worried about the right-wing group Proud Boys disrupting the event.
ABC10's Luke Cleary shared video of the confrontation, showing the "alleged Proud Boys" approaching the bar asking, "How many kids are in there?" Then, someone from inside the bar lets off a volley of pepper spray, causing the men and even the police officers on scene to retreat.
"Pedophile motherf***ers," one person yells after being hot with pepper spray.
The men wouldn't Identify to ABC10 what group they were affiliated with, but Woodland Police described them as an "organized group" but have not identified them.
Watch the video below:
\u201cAlleged Proud Boys members attempt to get into The Mojo in Woodland, CA and are met with pepper spray. The bar had planned an all ages Drag Show tonight, which was postponed due to security concerns\u201d— Luke Cleary (@Luke Cleary) 1656646462