New guidelines for Brevard Public Schools’ old LGBTQ+ non-discrimination policy cause controversy

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The Brevard County school district adopted a non-discrimination policy for LGBTQ+ students and staff in 2016.

But an email sent to school leadership earlier this week, providing LGBTQ+ district guidance on eight action items, is generating new controversy.

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State Rep. Randy Fine said he’ll be pushing for a parents’ bill of rights.

“When they passed this policy the school board members explicitly stated that the items that are in this guidance would not be a part of that,” Fine said.

The guidelines cover everything from the dress code to gender identity.

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“This guidance allows boys to use girls restrooms without notifying the girls or parents  in advance. It allows boys to play on girls’ sports teams,” Fine said. “It allows children to tell the school that they wish to be transgender. This is a massive overreach of government.”

The districts said all students are allowed to access locker rooms and restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity, or are will be provided with appropriate accommodations.

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Students who wish to participate in a gender-segregated sport must follow the procedures set by the Florida High School Athletic Association. And the guidelines also state students have the right to decide when and to whom their gender identity and sexual orientation is shared.

“If a child comes to school leaders and says ‘I identify as a sex I was not born to’ it’s not like everything on that list is crossed off and we’re done. It’s the start of a conversation that includes family,” said Russ Bruhn, Brevard Public Schools chief strategic communications officer.

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The district said the guidelines also keep the district up to date with current LGBTQ+ laws.

“Things have changed with federal law, with case law that have developed that have allowed us to develop these guidelines,” Bruhn said.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.