Dept. of Ed removed LGBTQ resources from website; Nikki Fried fills info gap
Nikki Fried is calling for cannabis equity. Image via Colin Hackley.

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'It’s so important that LGBTQ Floridians know that they matter.'

Following the removal of anti-bullying resources from the Florida Department of Education website, including information regarding LGBTQ students, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is providing that information instead.

In a Tuesday press release, Fried announced a set of LGBTQ resources hosted on the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website.

“Improving the health, safety, and prosperity of all Floridians, including the hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ Floridians, is my top priority as a member of the Cabinet,” Fried said in a written statement.

“It’s so important that LGBTQ Floridians know that they matter, there are resources to help, and that we will continue to advocate for them,” Fried continued. “That’s why I believe it’s imperative that we make these resources available.”

Advocates complain that removing resources for LGBTQ students is the latest attack on LGBTQ Floridians by the Ron DeSantis administration. Earlier this month, the department scrubbed dozens of informational links from its webpage on “Bullying Prevention.”

Some links offered educators, parents, and students general anti-bullying information, such as how to identify victims and how schools can develop anti-bullying policies.

The state education website also provided resources for targeted groups, including students with disabilities, LGBTQ students, and discrimination based on race or ethnicity.

The deleted resources can be viewed on the Wayback Machine’s website, an internet archive that saves earlier versions of websites even if edits are made.

Commissioner Fried’s anti-bullying resources include general information on bullying and LGBTQ-focused information. There are materials for students with disabilities and special health needs, but not explicitly for discrimination based on race.

Equality Florida, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, applauded Fried for providing those resources.

“While the DeSantis administration puts an exclamation point on their bigotry by removing LGBTQ-specific resources, we can’t lose sight of whose lives are at stake: LGBTQ youth. And do everything we can to protect them,” Equality Florida tweeted Tuesday.

The advocacy group called the removal of the LGBTQ resources from the state education department site a “staggering escalation” of the DeSantis administration’s “anti-LGBTQ agenda.”

“Attacks on LGBTQ students from Tallahassee are fueling a toxic, dangerous environment on the ground,” Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, said in a written statement on Dec. 6, when news broke that the LGBTQ resources had been removed by the FL DOE.

Smith continued: “We protect the lives of our youth by equipping administrators, educators, and parents with the tools necessary to affirm and create safe learning environments for them. These resources are a critical component of creating truly safe schools.”

During the 2021 legislative session, Republican lawmakers successfully pushed legislation that barred transgender girls in high school from participating on women’s and girls’ sports teams.

Instead, these students are required to play on teams that match the gender they were assigned at birth — meaning, transgender women and girls would play on the boy’s team — regardless of any bullying or discomfort to the student. Transgender boys and men can play on either boys’ or girls’ teams.

Republican lawmakers have provided parents with a tool to direct the education of their students and the Florida education system. It’s known as the ‘Parents’ Bill of Rights,’ signed by DeSantis earlier this year, and had been on the radar of LGBTQ activists during the 2022 Legislative Session, the Phoenix previously reported.

Among other things, the Parents’ Bill of Rights includes:

— The right to “direct the education” of their minor child and to “direct the upbringing and moral or religious training.”

— The right to inspect instructional materials, including regarding sex education, to decide if the material is appropriate for their child.

— The right to object to instructional materials “based on beliefs regarding morality, sex, and religion or the belief that such materials are harmful.”

— The right to access and review all school records relating to his or her minor child.

Advocates worry that the Parents’ Bill of Rights will lead to LGBTQ students getting “outed,” meaning that their gender or sexuality would be nonconsensually exposed. That could bring harm to students whose parents are not supportive.

Meanwhile, issues surrounding LGBTQ Floridians may be a factor Floridians take into account as they determine who should be the next Florida Governor.

Fried is campaigning to be the Democratic candidate in the 2022 gubernatorial election. DeSantis is running for reelection as the Republican candidate.

In the past, Fried has come in behind DeSantis when she thinks he’s dropped the ball, particularly in his response to COVID-19.

The Florida Department of Education has been a tool for DeSantis to accomplish some of his political goals that score points with his conservative base, such as banning critical race theory from Florida classrooms and punishing school boards for implementing mask mandates in schools instead of letting parents decide for their children.

___

Danielle Brown reporting via Florida Phoenix.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: [email protected] Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

Florida Phoenix

Florida Phoenix is a news and opinion outlet focused on government and political news coverage within the state of Florida.


12 comments

  • Ron Ogden

    December 23, 2021 at 12:54 pm

    It is not the job of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to deal the LGBTQ community and education. She is merely using this issue to try to build her candidacy for governor. What will she do next, start up a corporation filing page like the Secretary of State on the grounds that LGBTQ startups are getting favorable treatment in filings? Will she begin appointing judges on the grounds she is an advocate for LGBTQ bias in court? Fried, always incoherent, is descending into chaos in search of a formula to win the primary in August, and she is taking her department with her.

    • Alex

      December 23, 2021 at 3:50 pm

      DeDumbasses people aren’t doing their job, in fact they’re telegraphing “we don’t care about you freaks”

      Good for Nikki to do what SHOULD be done.

      (….waiting for your proof school kids are being taught to hate white people)

      • Ron Ogden

        December 23, 2021 at 5:11 pm

        Since you asked, Alex, here you go just to get ya up to speed on the world around you:

        “Pinellas County Schools (PCS) supports student achievement of all students through several key district initiatives. As it relates to Equity and topics related to RACE. . .” (emphasis mine).

        “as they strive to create more equitable outcomes for scholars through creating an inclusive classroom culture, using CULTURALLY RELEVANT PEDAGOGY and adopting equity as a habit of mind to ensure 100% student success.”

        Lacaysha Howell, a biracial mother from Sarasota, said that left-wing teachers tried to persuade her daughter that the white side of their family was oppressive. Another speaker, Eulalia Jimenez, a Cuban-American mother from the Miami area, said that left-wing indoctrination in schools reminded her of her father’s warnings about Communism in his native Cuba. Both believed that critical race theory was poison to the American Dream.

        “. . .Arizona claiming that babies are racist; Santa Clara County denouncing the United States as a “parasitic system”; Philadelphia teaching students to celebrate “Black communism”; San Diego telling teachers “you are racist”; Bank of America teaching that the United States is a “system of white supremacy”; Verizon teaching that America is fundamentally racist; and Google teaching that all Americans are “raised to be racist.”

        “. . .“fiction, projects or theory masquerading as fact.”
        I’ll admit there are few or no lessons officially labeled “Critical Race Theory”, but “Culturally Relevant Teaching” is central to modern American public schools, which are state sponsored, and it is merely a rehash of the Critical Race Theory that students of education and social sciences are taught in universities.

        Most of this came about after the New York Times laid an intellectual egg called “The 1619 Project,” which I believe even it has backed away from, and it awakened in parents and understand of, as the one parent said, that was we call critical race theory is “poison to the American dream”.

        • Alex

          December 23, 2021 at 6:28 pm

          Looks like a bunch of stuff you stuck together, for instance searching the text string;

          “. . .Arizona claiming that babies are racist; Santa Clara County denouncing the United States as a “parasitic system”; Philadelphia teaching students to celebrate “Black communism”; San Diego telling teachers “you are racist”; Bank of America teaching that the United States is a “system of white supremacy”; Verizon teaching that America is fundamentally racist; and Google teaching that all Americans are “raised to be racist.”

          Comes up with nothing.

          Otherwise you gave two names.
          Lacaysha Howell and Eulalia Jimenez who both only appear at Ron DeRacist events as far as I can tell.

          Two. Not credible, or sufficient

          “Most” of this came about” blah blah blah new york times…

          If you think this is evidence of something, you don’t know what evidence is.

        • Alex

          December 23, 2021 at 8:05 pm

          You could’ve just said you only have two women who spoke at a DeSantis anti-CRT event, and about the one person who claimed the NYTimes “backed away” from the 1619 Project tour de force.

          The rest of it is stuff you like/copied, but bear no resemblance to evidence.

          Oh, and moving the goalpost from CRT to Culturally Relevant Teaching (a successful method of teaching that has nothing to do with CRT) didn’t make any sense at all.

          • Ron Ogden

            December 23, 2021 at 8:55 pm

            Culturally Relevant Training is a rubric for centering education on inherent characteristics rather than learned information. Simply put, it is all about telling students that the way they were matters more than the way they will be. And that is no education at all: it is political posturing in the classroom, in the name of spurious social science. If you were an educator, you’d know.

          • Alex

            December 24, 2021 at 8:11 am

            I asked you for proof CRT is taught to school children as you claimed.

            You tried to move the goalposts, and failed at that.

            You sir, are a liar.

            Fact.

        • Alex

          December 23, 2021 at 9:35 pm

          Change of subject denied.

          Nice dodge from the fact you have zero proof that CRT in any form is being taught to children in classrooms.

          It is _nonsense_ invented to keep the cultural rift in place because Republicans benefit from having a tiered society of haves and have nots, powerful and powerless.

          • Ron Ogden

            December 23, 2021 at 10:22 pm

            You’re the one who changed the subject:
            “Good for Nikki to do what SHOULD be done.
            (….waiting for your proof school kids are being taught to hate white people)

            YOU went from the Department of Agriculture’s role in LGBTQ politics to Critical Race Theory. Look backs a few posts.
            And, yes, I know it is changing the subject to say so, but I worry about you, Alex. Weakness in short-term memory is indicative of bubbles in the belfry.

          • Alex

            December 24, 2021 at 8:12 am

            I asked you for proof CRT is taught to school children as you claimed.

            You tried to move the goalposts, and failed at that.

            You sir, are a liar.

            Fact.

  • Ron Ogden

    December 23, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    Sorry for the typo; meant:
    t is not the job of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to deal the LGBTQ community and education. She is merely using this issue to try to build her candidacy for governor. What will she do next, start up a corporation filing page like the Secretary of State on the grounds that LGBTQ startups AREN’T getting favorable treatment in filings? Will she begin appointing judges on the grounds she is an advocate for LGBTQ bias in court? Fried, always incoherent, is descending into chaos in search of a formula to win the primary in August, and she is taking her department with her.

  • The Younger Claude Kirk

    December 23, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    Sorry Nikki the Flip Flop Christ/Gillum ticket already has the LGBTQ vote.

Comments are closed.


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