Miami-Dade Backtracks, Accepts Previously Rejected Sex Ed Textbooks

The board’s decision to reverse last week’s vote denying the two ‘Comprehensive Health Skills’ books for middle and high school students was not well received by members who pushed to deny the texts . Opponents have expressed frustration that the failed books have been brought back for reconsideration, suggesting that the public has not been properly noticed while openly disagreeing with council counsel’s advice.

“If you support this article, you are not supporting transparency,” said board member Lubby Navarro, who voted against the books.

Both texts have been under intense scrutiny in Miami for months now, as some parents say the lessons go beyond what schools should teach about sex, while others say it these are necessary lessons. Miami-Dade school officials recommended approving the textbooks following a public hearing on June 8 to file some 278 petitions against the documents, which the district denied before the board voted on it. last week 5 against 4 to reject the texts.

Any parent under Florida law can withdraw their child from sex-ed classes, a policy the board has agreed that school leaders must disseminate to the community.

“Anyone who, for whatever reason, who I respect, who doesn’t want their child to learn any of this has protections under state law, has protections under policy of our board of directors, to step down, as it should be,” said board member Luisa Santos. , who voted in favor of the books. “It’s not our role to deny everyone that option. It’s our role to make sure everyone has that option.

The Miami School Board back-and-forth is an early test of how Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill, passed earlier this year and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, shapes school policies as a result of its adoption. The law prohibits teachers from giving classroom lessons about gender identity or sexual orientation to students in kindergarten through third grade. It also prohibits such lessons for older students unless they are “age or developmentally appropriate”.

Some parents, including members of the conservative group County Citizens Defending Freedom, have taken issue with health and sex education books about lessons about sexual orientation and unplanned pregnancies, which include definitions of sexuality. abortion and emergency contraceptives like the Plan B pill. Yet other parents say these lessons are key to preparing young people for safer sex and issues such as sexually transmitted diseases.

School board members who challenged the books criticized the board for taking up the question “when the ink is still wet”.

“I personally don’t think this meeting is necessary,” Navarro said. “It’s not about how many people show up for one side or the other, it doesn’t influence my vote.”

Denise W. Whigham