Duval County School Board to hold workshop


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The board was going to vote on the resolution, which supports the Parental Rights in Education Act, Tuesday night, but tabled the vote.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It may be the end of the month before a decision is made on a contentious issue facing the Duval County School Board.

At a school board meeting Tuesday night, close to 300 people voiced their opinions about a resolution proposed by board member Charlotte Joyce that supports the Parental Rights in Education Act, dubbed the Don’t Say Gay law by critics. 

The law, which takes effect in July, will ban classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. 

The resolution would also formally disavow parts of the district’s LGBTQ+ Support Guide, including part that says “it is never appropriate to divulge the sexual orientation of a student to a parent.” 

“I wanted to bring a resolution to the board to acknowledge what the law says, to talk about why the law was needed, because of the LGBTQ support plan, we are not including parents in this conversation,” Joyce said. “We are creating an environment where we are teaching our students not to trust their parents. We’re creating an environment that says, ‘we are better than your parents and you can confide in us and not in them,’ and that’s just not ok.”

RELATED: Controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill signed into law. Florida Republicans say it’s ‘The Year of the Parent’

The public comment period lasted nearly seven hours. The meeting itself didn’t end until almost 2 a.m. 

According to a DCPS spokesperson, staff has been working to adapt the district’s policies to the new law. Board Member Cindy Pearson moved to table the vote on the resolution for this reason. Members voted six to one to revisit the topic. 

“I really believe, and based on the volume of public comment tonight, that it was important to have a conversation, because I think our community wants to know where this board stands on this new law,” Joyce said at the end of the meeting. 

“We want to give this the due diligence that it deserves and if that’s the case, we have to go through the proper protocols and have that discussion,” Chairman Darryl Willie said.

“There was a lot that was said tonight, and I want to make sure we’re living in facts, we’re not indoctrinating, we’re not grooming the instruction K through three. It’s not happening, so I don’t want us to listen to the rhetoric tonight and continue it on because that’s not where we are,” he said. 

The district spokesperson said the board will have a workshop on the topic later this month. 

He said “the future of the resolution may come into focus.” First Coast News reached out to board members Wednesday regarding the length of the public comment period, and the comments made. 

FCN hadn’t heard back by the time this article was published. 

RELATED: No, controversial Florida law doesn’t use phrase ‘don’t say gay’

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