Aug 31, 2022 - News

Miami-Dade School Board to vote on LGBTQ history

Illustration of a school bus with an activated stop sign showing a pride flag.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The Miami-Dade School Board will vote next week on whether to recognize October as LGBTQ History Month, as it did last year.

  • Members will also consider whether teachers should incorporate two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions on gay rights into 12th grade U.S. Government courses.

What's happening: Some LGBTQ rights activists fear the agenda items at the Sept. 7 meeting could be contentious given that school boards have become battlegrounds for ongoing culture wars.

  • Prism, a nonprofit focused on expanding access to LGBTQ-inclusive educational materials for youth in South Florida, is petitioning community members to show support for the LGBTQ History Month measure.

Maxx Fenning, Prism's president, tells Axios that his group is also part of a coalition that urged School Board member Lucia Baez-Geller to sponsor the measure.

  • "LGBTQ history is American history," Fenning said.

Between the lines: State law specifies that students learn about the civil rights movement to the present, as part of their history curriculum.

  • In 12th grade, they learn about major U.S. Supreme Court cases.

Rulings that groups like Prism hope will become part of Miami-Dade teachers' lesson plans include:

What they're saying: Baez-Geller tells Axios that "as long as it fits into the existing curriculum, and it's aligned with the state benchmarks, which this is, then teachers have that ability to decide if it's appropriate, or whether they would like to teach it, in a fair and unbiased way."

  • "All we're doing is promoting this and ensuring that any student who would like to learn about this is able to," she added.
  • Specific teaching materials could be created if the measure passes, Baez-Geller said.

Per the agenda, the school board will also vote next week on whether to:

  • Explore implementing Lauren's Kids' child sexual abuse prevention curriculum in kindergarten through second grade next year. The teaching materials were designed by state Sen. Lauren Book, who won the race last week to represent the newly drawn District 35.
  • Request an updated report on security measures for School Board meetings.
  • Give final approval to the 2022-2023 budget.
  • Explore letting board members establish individual satellite offices in their respective voting districts.

What to watch: The nine-person school board is undergoing changes after two right-leaning members were elected in August. They won't take office until November.


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