New bathroom rules at state’s higher ed institutions could lead to tenured faculty being fired

The state Board of Education adopted rules for implementing controversial legislation restricting bathroom use.

Tenured faculty members can be fired for using a bathroom that doesn’t align with their “biological sex” at birth, according to state Board of Education rules approved over the protests of LGBTQ allies and activists.

The board unanimously approved the rules for the state’s institutions of higher education and private K-12 schools. The rules were drafted to implement legislation (HB 1521) that the law’s backers said would protect privacy in public spaces.

Many opponents, however, believe is part of a slate of laws passed during the last Session that target transgender and nonbinary people. A parade of people came to speak on the issue, including one person with a beard who told the board he was a transgender male who would make other women in a restroom feel uncomfortable if he were to comply with the law.

“Adopting this new rule not only places students and faculty at increased risk for hate, discrimination and suicide … it also leads to violence,” said Jordan Vento, citing the recent murder of a cis California woman who was killed in an argument involving a Pride flag displayed at her business. “This rule would mandate me to use the women’s restroom or be subject to termination without the ability to fight for my rights.”

Wednesday’s meeting, where the Collier County School Board meets, was not in a building that has a unisex bathroom that could accommodate someone whose appearance did not conform with their designated sex at birth, opponents pointed out.

The rule approved Wednesday states that a second documented offense must result in a termination and that offenders can be immediately terminated for one violation.

A July meeting passed rules implementing the same legislation for public schools. Under those rules, teachers who don’t use the bathroom that aligns with their sex designated at birth may face revocation or suspension of their teaching license.

One mother said she was thankful, on behalf of an outgoing senior high school student, that the board was acting to protect all students and “not just the loudest voices.”

Others, however, noted that board members appeared to be competing in the “eyeroll Olympics” on the dais and were consistently not making eye contact with the speakers.

Chloe Boggs, President of the youth chapter of Women’s Voice of Southwest Florida, said that transgender people should at least have access to a unisex stall, unlike the facilities available at the Collier County School Board building.

“You are complicit in the genocide of trans people,” she said. “If you prioritized safety, you would ensure all schools and colleges have safe places for LGBTQ.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Linwood Wright

    August 23, 2023 at 3:19 pm

    Another GOP solution in search of a problem.

    Every single person reading this has a “Gender Neutral” bathroom in their home. Even you, Earl.

    • I.N. Maate

      August 26, 2023 at 5:43 am

      And nobody reading this lives in a public institution, except maybe you, Linwood.


    August 23, 2023 at 8:44 pm

    Wait wait. So at the UF football games when the lines are a mile long for the ladies room and I slip in the men’s room to pee am I going to get fired or arrested or both ? Floriduh is INSANE

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 24, 2023 at 4:16 am

    Really? So what ? It is THE BATHROOM! Bathroom to eliminate BODY wastes! It is sometimes embarrassing when the body wastes Stink or Loud noises? How about we have bathrooms for pee pooping and throwing up? Makes as much sense as gender.

Comments are closed.


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