Although the Miami-Dade County public school board in Florida approved a measure last year to designate October as LGBTQ History Month, that plan was defeated in an 8-1 vote on Wednesday.
According to reports, a key factor in the decision to halt plans for the controversial designation was GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push for the Parental Rights in Education law, which he signed into effect earlier this year.
The Miami-Dade School Board voted 8-1 to reject recognizing October as “LGBTQ History Month.”
— Robert Cornicelli (@cornicelliny) September 9, 2022
Board member Christi Fraga, who voted against the measure this week, said that in order to abide by the letter of the law, it was clear that the board could not implement a districtwide LGBTQ History Month.
She explained that the law “is very clear that this type of imposition should not be imposed on our children, especially in elementary schools.”
The only board member who voted in favor of the effort was Lucia Baez-Geller, who was also its sponsor. In addition to the special designation for October, her proposal would have also mandated that high school students learn about the various court decisions that have supported LGBTQ causes over the years.
Supporters and opponents of the measure gathered at the board meeting to express their positions, including Max Tover, a local pastor and the parent of a student in the district. He described Baez-Geller’s proposal as a “Trojan horse” that would ultimately lead to undue influence on students of all ages across the district.
“This item does not indoctrinate students,” Baez-Geller claimed during the board meeting. “It does not force an agenda on students. And, as was stated incorrectly, this item does not take away parental choice.”
Fraga shared her belief that the measure “is in direct violation of our parental rights bill,” at least “in spirit,” adding: “This is saying a full endorsement in the entire district of this month — that includes kindergarten through 12th grade.”
DeSantis has been a relentless advocate of parental rights regarding the curriculum used in the state’s public schools. Critics have derisively described his effort to limit sexual themes to older grades as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The governor has repeatedly defended his position, however, at one point declaring: “Parents have every right to be informed about services offered to their child at school, and should be protected from schools using classroom instruction to sexualize their kids as young as 5 years old.”