BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — The Florida State Department of Education will require schools to notify parents if their policy allows students to use whichever bathrooms they prefer, regardless of biological sex. The action, announced Thursday evening, comes in response to a sexual assault allegation that occurred at Space Coast Junior/Senior High School in Brevard County.
Representative Randy Fine posted a copy of the sheriff’s report from the incident on his Facebook page Thursday morning. The sheriff’s department confirmed the report with The Florida Standard.
On August 11, Fine told State Education Commissioner Manny Diaz in a letter that multiple parents approached him claiming that over the summer “a boy, claiming to be a girl…sexually assaulted a girl in the girls’ restroom at Johnson Middle School.”
Fine said that parents had “made queries of the school district, including public records requests,” but had been “stonewalled.” He criticized the “woke ‘open bathroom policy’” championed by two members of the school board and said he expected the allegations would be swept under the rug.
Fine also referenced previous sanctions the Department of Education issued against the district for failing to report allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Palm Bay Deputy Mayor Kenny Johnson, who was an assistant football coach at Bayside High School at the time.
ASSAULTED IN BATHROOM
In the sheriff’s report, a female student at Space Coast alleged that a biologically male transgender student had grabbed her breasts in the girl’s bathroom without her consent. The sheriff’s office said the case was dropped due to conflicting statements. The school did not discipline the male student for being in the girl’s bathroom.
“I think there’s going to be outrage,” Fine told The Florida Standard. “The facts that are not in dispute is that a boy was in the girl’s restroom, with the full permission of the Brevard government school board.”
Last week, Russell Bruhn, Chief Strategic Communications Officer for the school system, told Florida Today that it was “irresponsible to send this letter to the state." He said the allegations were false and suggested Fine should apologize for the “baseless accusation,” according to the Associated Press.
Bruhn confirmed with The Florida Standard that the school system was aware of the incident at Space Coast when responding to Fine’s claims, but said they could not comment without jeopardizing students’ Family Educational Right and Privacy Act (FERPA).
“The report does not line up with allegations Rep. Fine made regarding Johnson Middle School,” Bruhn told The Florida Standard in an email. “We reported the incident to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, DCF and our Title IX third-party investigator. All investigated and all closed their investigation with no action. Districts do not report to the state when there is no disposition.”
THE NEW RULE
“We find this allegation deeply disturbing and troubling,” Alex Lanfranconi, Director of Communications at the Florida Department of Education, told The Daily Wire. “Clearly, if Brevard Public Schools had commonsense policies that separate bathrooms and locker rooms by biological sex at birth, this incident would not have been possible.”
The new rule states the following: If a school district has a policy that allows for separation of bathrooms or locker rooms according to some criteria other than biological sex at birth, the policy must be posted on the district’s website to fully inform parents, and the policy must include, at a minimum, the following: 1. Method of student supervision provided for locker rooms, for example a coach or aide; 2. Which locker rooms are not separated by biological sex at birth; and 3. Which bathrooms are not separated by biological sex at birth.