Anti-bullying page, including pro-LGBTQ links, removed from Education Department website
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LGBT
DOE removed the anti-bullying page following an inquiry about the site's LGBTQ resources.

The Florida Department of Education has removed an anti-bullying portal from its website, including links to LGBTQ advocacy groups.

DOE removed the anti-bullying page after the Florida Capital Star, a right-leaning online publication, inquired about the LGBTQ resources listed on the site, sparking a content review on the page. The inquiry precipitated related changes to the DOE webpage for the Office of Safe Schools, created under the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, until DOE can review the content.

When pulling the bullying portal, the department removed links to state anti-bullying policy, LGBTQ advocacy groups and other bullying prevention resources.

Lawmakers this spring passed the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which states that public schools cannot infringe on the “fundamental rights” of parents to direct the upbringing of their child — extending to decisions about education, health care and mental health. Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ administration and DOE has used the legislation to ban blanket mask mandates in schools. But during the 2021 Session, debate centered around fears from LGBTQ advocacy groups and allies that the legislation could reveal to parents the gender identity or sexual orientation of children who came out at school before coming out at home.

The bullying portal included links to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ StopBullying.gov and its page addressing bullying in LGBTQIA+ Youth. Until this fall, the page instructed educators to protect children’s privacy, guidance that could run afoul of the Parents’ Bill of Rights.

“Be careful not to disclose or discuss sexual identity issues with parents or anyone else, without the young person’s prior permission, unless there is an immediate threat to their safety or wellbeing,” the page read.

Groups like the pro-LGBTQ civil rights group Equality Florida criticized the DeSantis administration for pulling the website, calling it a “staggering escalation of its anti-LGBTQ agenda.”

In a statement, Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith called for the links to be reinstated.

“Attacks on LGBTQ students from Tallahassee are fueling a toxic, dangerous environment on the ground,” Smith said. “From the passage of explicitly anti-transgender legislation this year to proposed legislation that would jail doctors and parents for providing lifesaving medical care to transgender children, a politically-motivated assault on the LGBTQ community is putting young people at risk. Vulnerable youth deserve better than a DeSantis Administration intent on putting them in harm’s way in order to score cheap political points.”

Other links removed from the DOE website included the department’s model policy against bullying and harassment for school districts and a checklist for school districts when developing anti-bullying policy.

DOE’s Office of Safe Schools, which answers to the Education Commissioner, currently Richard Corcoran, was created after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to provide safe learning environments for students and educators.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


8 comments

  • Alex

    December 6, 2021 at 10:51 am

    I raised my kids to think for themselves and make their own decisions about right vs wrong, religion and politics.

    DeAnus and the know nothing party faithful want to make little know nothing cookie cutter selfish ignoramuses, just like Mom and Dad..

  • PeterH

    December 6, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    I’m hoping Mr. Downey will do a follow up on this topic. WHY was the link removed?

    • tom palmer

      December 6, 2021 at 5:17 pm

      You’re kidding, right? We know why.

  • BJohnM

    December 7, 2021 at 11:45 am

    Want to know why they pulled it? A guy, named Steve Stewart, who they claimed was a “reporter” called them up to complain about it.
    First about Steve. He and his wife have a blog called “Tallahassee Reports.” (I’m not going to do them the service of linking.) It is clearly a partisan rag at that…hardly a legitimate news source. Their staff includes a couple of college students not even in writing or journalism classes.

    I’ve talked to their communications office and the Safe Schools office. Here is the crap I got from them. It was reported to have a lot of inactive links (and they made some vague illusion to “appropriate links,” so I’m guessing some of the links were to LGBTQ supportive resources which just irked Steve and probably Bob Corchoran), and they pulled it in order to fix the links and repost it, “sometime in the indeterminant future.”

    OK, as someone who has done a website, generally you create new or updated pages in a development environment and post them. Also, if you have broken links, put up a page with the stuff that does work including the anti-bullying policy, and then fix the rest and post the new page when done.

    Next, when I was trying to find out who to call, I found page after page on their site with broken links…one that was supposed to be a department directory had not a single link that worked. So my point to the guy I talked to was…if the metric was that pages with broken links should be taken down…why was only that one page targeted for removal? Not a good answer was available to that one.

    I also told the guy, “I too have a blog, so I’m requesting that you put the page back up. I’m as legitimate as Tallahassee Reports.”
    Now it’s been clear for some time that the Florida Department of Education no longer has anything to do with Education, but it is just an arm of the DeSantis Presidential Election operation, and the safety of kids, staff and teachers is their lowest priority.

    • PeterH

      December 7, 2021 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks for the update. This DeSantis administration is an embarrassment.

      • Jimmy

        December 7, 2021 at 6:29 pm

        Peter h, so you would of preferred Andrew gilum? An adulterer who sleeps with male hookers. Ron is the best Governor we have had.

  • Derek Williams

    December 7, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    DOE removed the anti-bullying page. So do they support the targeting of LGBT+ students by bullies or not? I have been studying the suicides of children resulting from bullying by their peers. Below is a list that made the news (Google any one of them to bring up the story), and all USA based, but clearly it’s the thin end of the wedge. Many of the bullies high-five each other once their target has ended their young life, so this issue is in my view exacferbated if not caused by 1. parental encourangement of their offspring to engage in bullying, 2. Department of Education systemic and societal acceptance of LGBT+ bullying and concomitant suicide as just “kids being kids”, 3. Shrugging of the shoulder by the community because “it’s only a gay kid” – they had it coming to them.”
    Aaron Jurek 15yo
    Adam Kizer 16yo
    AJ Betts 16yo
    Asher Brown 13yo
    Billy Lucas 15yo
    Blake Brockington 18yo
    Brandon Bitner 14yo
    Brandon Elizares 16yo
    Cameron Warwick 16yo
    Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover 11yo
    Carlos Vigil 17yo
    Channing Smith 16yo
    Cody Barker 17yo
    David Hernandez 16yo
    Dominic Crouch 15yo (and his dad 6 months later)
    Eli Fritchley 12yo
    Elisabeth (Lizzie) Lowe 14yo
    Eric James Borges 19yo
    Jack Burns 14yo
    Jacob Rogers 18yo
    Jadin Bell 15yo
    Jaheem Herrera 11yo
    Jamel Myles 9yo
    Jamey Rodemeyer 14yo
    Jamie Hubley 15yo
    Jeffrey Fehr 18yo
    Jordan Yenor 14yo
    Josh (Leelah) Alcorn 17yo
    Josh Pacheco 17yo
    Julia Derbyshire 16yo
    Justin Aaberg 13yo
    Kameron Jacobsen 14yo
    Kenneth James Weishuhn Jr 14yo
    Kyler Prescott 14yo
    Lance Lundsten 18yo
    Leo Etherington 15yo
    Madissen Foxx Paulsen and Sophia Leaf-Abrahamson, both 11yo
    Nigel Shelby 15yo
    Phillip Parker 14yo
    Rafael Morelos 14yo
    Raymond Chase 19yo
    Ronin Shimizu 12yo
    Sam Taub 15yo
    Samantha Johnson 13yo
    Sergio David Urrego Reyes 16yo
    Seth Walsh 13yo
    Thomas John ‘TJ’ Hayes 12yo
    Tim Ribberink 20yo
    Tristan Peterson 12yo
    Tyler Clementi 18yo
    Zander Mahaffey 15yo

    • Derek Williams

      December 8, 2021 at 7:06 pm

      Spelling correction: “exacferbated” to “exacerbated”
      Remove superfluous ” from kid”.
      Why is there no edit option?

Comments are closed.


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