MIAMI, FLORIDA — School board members in Florida’s largest district voted against a proclamation celebrating homosexuality and gender confusion at the conclusion of a 12-hour meeting on Wednesday.
The Miami-Dade County School Board voted 5-3 against a resolution that sought to recognize October as “LGBTQ History Month.” Four of the board members who opposed the motion came from individuals whom Governor Ron DeSantis either appointed or helped get elected via his campaign endorsement – Roberto Alonso, Danny Espino, Maria Bosque-Blanco and Monica Colucci. Board Chair Mari Tere Rojas also voted against the proclamation.
The vote came after more than 11 hours of public comment, as scores of parents and local residents showed up to tell the board what they thought about the polarizing proposal.
“The month of October has been established to remind all cultures within our wider community of the important roles that LBGTQ people have taken in social, historical, legal and political worlds we live in today,” the resolution states.
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools is firmly committed to school safety for all students, staff, and family members, including the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LBGTQ) community, or those that may be perceived as such, and to creating a positive school climate by maintaining a safe environment and developing a sense of belonging for all students and staff.”
The board passed a similar resolution in 2021, but the conservative lean among the board’s newly installed members helped produce a different result one year later – when the board voted it down 7-1 in September 2022. At the time, the board cited the newly enacted Parental Rights in Education Act – which prohibits teachers from engaging in sexualized discussion with young students.
Last week, board member Lucia Baez-Geller filed the resolution again, hoping to achieve the outcome from 2021. She asserted that the law’s restrictions have no impact on the resolution. The district’s Office of the General Counsel reviewed and approved the resolution’s “legal sufficiency.”
Legality aside, board members Mary Blanco and Roberto Alonso argued that the resolution could confuse teachers, who are required to keep their classrooms free from unnecessary discussions about sexual preferences and gender confusion.
“I think it’s a mixed message to our teachers,” Blanco said at a board meeting on August 31.
Board member Monica Colluci added: “Matters of gender identity and sexual orientation are family issues and are parental rights, everyone has the right to introduce these topics to their child when they feel necessary.”
In 2013, the National Education Association, America’s largest teachers union, named Baez-Geller “Political Advocate of the Year.”
On her Instagram page, Baez-Geller lists her pronouns: “she/her/ella.”