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Florida School District Bans Trans Employees From Using Their Pronouns

Florida School District Bans Trans Employees From Using Their Pronouns


The version of Ron DeSantis’s “anti-woke” Florida seems to include restrictions on some people’s speech.

As a result of the state’s ‘don’t say gay’ law, a large Florida school district sent out a document on Monday forbidding transgender employees from using their preferred pronouns and forcing them to use group restrooms based on their “biological sex at birth.” Additionally, simply calling a student by a nickname now requires written permission, according to the district. While the pronoun guidance also applies to students, it imposes stiff penalties on faculty and staff who violate it.

Orange County Public Schools serves about 210,000 Orlando-area students, and the pronoun and nickname policies are included in its updated academic guidance for the upcoming school year, NBC News was first to report.

The memo was sent to employees in response to two new Florida laws. House Bill 1069 limits sex and human sexuality education. In addition, House Bill 1521 defines how restrooms should be used. After Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s “anti-woke” Republican governor, signed both bills into law in May, they became effective on July 1.

As a result of those changes, guidance documents summarizing district rules and punishments were written.

Rather than their gender identity, the memo explains that students and employees are categorized by “the hormones and genitals present at birth.”

Employees and contractors who are transgender “may not provide a personal title or pronoun to students which does not correspond [to] the employee’s or contractor’s biological sex at birth,” according to the memo.

This would also mean that a transgender woman who goes by Ms. would, under these guidelines, have to ask to be addressed as Mr.

Furthermore, employees and contractors cannot ask students to specify their preferred pronouns or titles.

Additionally, according to the deputy general counsel for Orange County Public Schools, educators concerned about pronoun usage and “potential liability” can contact students using their first or last name.

Students can only be addressed by a preferred or nickname if a parent submits a permission slip in writing that indicates the name a student could be called. A student named Michael, for example, couldn’t be called Mike without written permission.

The document also states that parents may indicate the name a transgender student uses if it differs from their other records but that while the student’s name will be honored, the pronouns they identify with will not.

According to the State Board of Education, education licenses can be revoked for teachers who break the pronoun rule.

Under House Bill 1521, all state-owned buildings in Florida must separate bathrooms according to the same “present at birth” sex identification policy.

“For our transgender students and employees, they must be provided single stall restrooms for their usage,” the direction noted. “Transgender students and employees may not enter into a group restroom which is designated for the sex other than their biological sex at birth.”

Any student who “willfully enters a bathroom or changing facility designated for the opposite sex if the student refuses to depart when asked to do so by any instructional personnel, administrator, or school resource officer” can be punished.

Employees who use another restroom than their birth ses risk being disciplined as well.

Violators can be fined up to $10,000 under the law.

Asked to clarify why the policy protects the right of those who disagree with transgender people’s gender identity to use the pronouns they wish to address individuals but fails to allow transgender employees to refer to themselves by the pronoun and honorific with which they identify, a spokesperson for the Orange County Public Schools referred to the "don't say gay" law.

“There have been state legislative and rule changes around the Parents Bill of Rights since last school year, which impact students, teachers, and staff. All of our school principals have been provided information and guidance to share with staff,” media relations administrator Michael Ollendorff told The Advocate.

Equality Florida’s parents and families support manager Jennifer Solomon condemned the policy announcement.

“The guidance developed by Orange County Public Schools, in order to be compliant with the ‘Don’t Say LGBTQ’ law, is the inevitable result of vague and bigoted legislation championed by this administration. Governor Ron DeSantis has turned Florida’s classrooms into political battlefields, and now our schools, parents, and kids are paying the consequences,” she told The Advocate.

Solomon continued, “Parents and families of LGBTQ+ youth are pushing back and proclaiming the freedom to decide what is best for our children.”

Florida is currently experiencing a severe teacher shortage with thousands of staff and teaching vacancies across the state.

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