Alachua Co. School District gets rid of “LGBTQ Support Guide” after pushback from FLDOE
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The Alachua County School District is getting rid of its LGBTQ support guide after Superintendent Shane Andrew got a letter from the Florida Department of Education saying the guide does not comply with Florida law.
The letter is a result of the Parental Rights in Education Act, a controversial bill that critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The “LGBTQ Critical Support Guide” was a 25 page guide that covered topics ranging from how staff should handle a student’s preferred pronouns to restroom and locker room use.
“It’s infuriating actually. We raise our kids to be accepting of everybody,” said Jill Aldredge, ACPS parent. “We don’t know who they’re going to be when they grow up, and so we instill the values of this country is based on a variety of people from all backgrounds.”
According to the letter from the FLDOE, the Alachua County School District has at least four policies in the guide that violate Florida law.
State education officials asked Supt. Andrew to amend the policies before December 9th. That’s when he got rid of the guide altogether.
In a letter to the State Board of Education, he wrote:
“Following your presentation to the State Board of Education on October 19, 2022, we pulled this guide and removed it from our website in anticipation of your detailed correspondence. Given the findings and guidance from your November 18, 2022 correspondence, we will not reinstate the guide, and it will not be used as guidance for district employees and students moving forward.”
One school board member told TV 20 that while the guide is gone now, it may not be for long.
“This is not a permanent removal of the LGBTQ guide it’s a temporary removal,” said Sarah Rockwell, District 3. “Unfortunately the timeline we were given to make revisions was very short, especially when you consider that there was Thanksgiving break and following that there was a week-long conference for all board members and superintendents.”
Rockwell said school district officials are doing research on how to craft an LGBTQ support guide while complying with state law, something she said other school districts have already done.
“I want to assure our community that there will be another document. I will be putting pressure on our district staff to make sure that it happens,” she said.
The State Board of Education is set to meet this Wednesday, December 14th to review Alachua County and nine other school district’s policies on LGBTQ support guides.
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