JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA — Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) has revised its LGBTQ+ support guide to meet state standards related to sports and parental rights, while maintaining many key tenets of the latest LGBTQ ideology.
In April 2022, DCPS board member Charlotte Joyce filed a resolution to remove the phrase “It is never appropriate to divulge the sexual orientation of a student to a parent,” saying it violates the state’s Parental Rights in Education law. One month later the district announced the guide would be revised.
The lengthy revision process has culminated in new guidelines that seek to integrate two fundamentally opposing viewpoints on issues of sex and gender – and consequently are unlikely to appease many on the Left or the Right.
KEEPING PARENTS IN THE LOOP
Parents’ rights are addressed right off the bat in the new guide. Immediately following a glossary of key terms, the guidelines state in bold font: “Nothing contained in this support guide is intended to usurp the rights afforded to parents in the Duval County School Board’s Parental Notification of Change in Support Services Procedures.” Bold font is not used for any other directive in the guide.
There are exceptions, however. Teachers and staff may abstain from disclosing important information from parents if “a reasonably prudent person would believe that disclosure would result in abuse, abandonment, or neglect.”
BATHROOMS AND LOCKER ROOMS
The guide previously called for developing “a plan for restroom and/or locker room use corresponding to their consistently asserted gender identity (at a minimum, not be forced to use the restroom and/or locker room that corresponds with their sex assigned at birth).”
Now, students are required to use the bathroom that aligns with his/her sex. The guidelines cite the state’s official definition of sex, which is determined “based upon a student’s biological sex on the student’s official birth certificate.”
NO BOYS IN GIRLS’ SPORTS
Florida’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act – passed in 2021 – bans males from competing in female sports within Florida public schools and universities. The bill applies the requirements to sports teams at public middle schools and high schools, as well as public colleges and universities.
The district’s new guidance prohibits boys from playing in girls’ sports, but permits girls to play in boys sports.
OVERNIGHT FIELD TRIPS
Concerning overnight field trips, the guide states that “School administrators will develop a plan on a case-by-case basis that meets privacy concerns of students participating in the field trip.”
In advance of the field trip, parents are to be notified as to whether or not “room assignments for one or more students are not separated by biological sex at birth.”
TEACHERS MUST USE PREFERRED PRONOUNS
The guide previously stated that teachers should permit students to “be addressed by the name/gender pronoun with which they are comfortable. Some examples include: He/She; They/Them; or Ze/Zir. This list is not meant to be exhaustive.”
Although the language has been toned down, teachers are still required to use the preferred pronouns of the student.
The guidelines now state: “When a student has requested an unofficial document change related to a preferred name or pronoun, and the parent notification process has been initiated, school personnel will use the name and gender pronoun corresponding to that request.”
Additionally, if a student tells a teacher that he now considers himself a girl, the teacher is instructed to “Be a role model of acceptance.”