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Florida BOE Adopts Policy Requiring Schools to Inform Parents if Students Are Allowed to Use Restrooms for Opposite Sex

The Florida Board of Education has adopted a rule that requires schools to inform parents if they are allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that do not match their biological sex.

Under the new policy, schools will also be required to make the information publicly available on their websites.

“If a school board or charter school governing board has a policy or procedure that allows for separation of bathrooms or locker rooms according to some criteria other than biological sex at birth, the policy or procedure must be posted on the district’s website or charter school’s website, and must be sent by mail to student residences to fully inform parents,” the policy states.

There are also new measures required if a school does allow students to choose which locker rooms and bathrooms to use based on their “gender identity.”

The school will need a “method of student supervision provided for locker rooms,” for example a coach or aide that will be present when the facilities are not separated by biological sex.

In their letter to parents, the school must explain how the method of supervision and chaperoning will ensure “the safety and privacy of students.”

Schools must also include “accommodations or modifications in order to ensure that all students have an opportunity to use a bathroom or locker room separated by biological sex at birth.”

The parental notification requirements will not apply to faculty bathrooms that are not accessible to students or single-occupancy bathrooms.

“What this rule is about, as I understand it, is parental notification,” Board of Education Chairman Thomas R. Grady said Wednesday following a public comment period, according to a report from The Hill. “It’s not mandating what a particular bathroom looks like or doesn’t look like or who can use it.” He explain that he believes notifying parents of issues related to their children is an “issue of constitutional free speech.”

Speakers during the comment period were split on the issue, with some in support and several opposing.

Michelle Jewett, the mother of a student who she said is transgender, claimed that the policy will not keep LGBTQ students safe.

“At the beginning of this meeting we talked about being serious about school safety,” Jewett said. “You said school should be a safe haven. That should apply to all of our students, and right now, our LGBTQ+ kids don’t feel that.”

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