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Vaxx-and-Mask Judge to Chair Public Hearing on Tampa Schools’ Sex Ed Curriculum

The unbiased hearing officer assigned to rule on the curriculum has a resume that indicates she supports Leftist ideology and posted pictures supportive of the vaccine and mask narratives on her personal Facebook page.

TAMPA, FLORIDA — Over 2,500 Hillsborough County residents will have the opportunity on Thursday to speak before an independent hearing officer regarding the school district’s sex ed curriculum. A public hearing is scheduled for 9 am at the Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) building in Tampa. Only those who submitted petitions will be permitted to speak.

On November 3, The Florida Standard reported that over 2,500 petitions had been submitted to HCPS challenging the sex ed curriculum due to objectionable material. The curriculum includes direct links to radical organizations Teen Connect Tampa Bay and Amaze. HCPS is the third largest public-school district in the state and seventh largest in the nation, with more than 300 schools and 218,000 students.


Florida statute 1006.26 requires that within 30 days of receiving the petition(s), “the school board must, for all petitions timely received, conduct at least one open public hearing before an unbiased and qualified hearing officer.”

Terry Kemple, founder of the Protect Our Children Project, spearheaded the challenge almost immediately after HCPS board members voted 5–2 in favor of adopting the curriculum on September 20.

Several other groups in the Tampa area helped galvanize resistance efforts, including Ban Explicit Books In Schools, Community Issues Council, County Citizens Defending Freedom, EmbraceLIfe911, Moms for Liberty Hillsborough County, Protect Our Children Project, Tampa Tea Party and a few local churches. The petitions primarily challenged the 7th grade curriculum, listing 10 objections to the content and one regarding the opt-out form’s lack of detail in the curriculum overview for parents.

“They need to know that there are many people who object to the sexualization of our children,” Kemple wrote in an email to those who submitted petitions. “They need to be convinced we will continue to object until they change course.”


Retired judge Claudia Isom will serve as the independent hearing officer, Kemple said. After listening to the public comments and reviewing the curriculum, Isom will make a recommendation to school board members.

Since 2010, Isom has served on the Florida Supreme Court’s Standing Committee on Fairness and Diversity. In 2017, Isom was part of a Special Committee on Gender Bias that concluded: “Gender bias is deeply embedded in our culture. Its impact has far reaching economic and social consequences and has continuously disadvantaged women in our profession.”

The special committee recommended The Florida Bar “create and promote a ‘Blue Ribbon Firm’ designation to be awarded to law firms committed to gender diversity.” The committee also recommended promoting “Gender Bias toolkits” for identifying “implicit bias obstacles,” “institutional disrupters” and “micro aggressions.”

Isom has also been a member of the League of Women Voters, a progressive group that advocates for abortion access, and the Florida Association of Women Lawyers (FAWL), whose stated mission includes “actively promoting gender equality.” Isom has twice been the recipient of a FAWL award.

Isom’s Facebook page gives additional hints about her social views. On two different occasions, she added COVID vaccine filters to her profile picture. Another photo shows her and her husband wearing masks outdoors.

In 2019, she captioned a photo “Wonderful visit to Miami for the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts.” The Consortium derides “implicit bias,” “sentencing disparities,” and has called for the removal of all Confederate monuments and “other symbols and markers of racism and white supremacy” from judiciary spaces. The theme for the 2019 conference was “Pursuing the Dream: Continuing the Struggle for Racial and Ethnic Justice in America.”

HCPS did not respond to The Florida Standard’s request for comment and Isom did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.