1-18-2023: Update from Equality Florida


For Immediate Release: January 18, 2023

Media Contact:

Brandon Wolf, Press Secretary

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Jon Harris Maurer; Public Policy Director

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Florida State Board of Education Adopts New Rules Designed to Confuse & Intimidate Educators

TALLAHASSEE, FL -- Today, the Florida State Board of Education voted to adopt two vague rules that threaten to remove the professional licenses of teachers if violated (proposed rule number 6A-10.081 and proposed rule number 6A-5.065). While designed to create confusion and chill efforts by educators to affirm their LGBTQ students, the rules do nothing to compel teachers to out those students against their will.

“It's clear that the DeSantis Administration continues to weaponize state agency rules with one goal in mind: sow fear and uncertainty around how best to care for and respect LGBTQ Floridians,” said Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida Public Policy Director. “In this case, the State Board of Education’s rules are designed to create confusion about how best to address the needs of LGBTQ youth. However, these rules do not require teachers to out students against their will and do not compel educators to be less inclusive or welcoming of all students. Florida school districts have followed comparable policies for years that have allowed LGBTQ youth to continue building relationships and sharing information about their identity with those they trust. LGBTQ students, like all students, deserve to be protected from harm and treated with respect. Education professionals are tasked with continuing to provide safe, affirming environments for all young people in their care.”

The newly adopted rules threaten the licenses of educators who fail to notify families if the services a student receives change or if they require additional monitoring of their wellbeing. However, the simple knowledge of a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity does not constitute a change in services, nor does it require additional monitoring. Similarly, a student’s LGBTQ identity doesn’t automatically raise concerns about their mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being. In that way, these rules do not compel teachers to take any new action when a student discloses information about their identity. 

These rules continue a series of politically motivated anti-LGBTQ attacks from the DeSantis Administration and state agencies over the past year. Emboldened by bigoted policies to censor LGBTQ people from classrooms and bar transgender young people from participating in sports with their classmates, the Governor and his appointees have weaponized agency rulemaking and enforcement processes to further discriminate against the community. The state’s Medicaid agency recently stripped transgender Floridians of coverage for gender affirming care and the Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy are proposing to ban that care for transgender youth. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation has been wielded as a weapon against LGBTQ-inclusive small businesses, targeting popular community gathering places that dare to host drag performances. And the Department of Education’s review of key provisions in the dangerous Don’t Say LGBTQ law is ongoing.


Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.



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