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Orange County Schools wait for Department of Education guidance on "Don't Say Gay"

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

Orange County Public Schools now say they will wait to give instruction on how to operate under the Parental Rights in Education legislation until the Florida Department of Education gives guidance. 

Earlier in the week, K-3 teachers were told they wouldn’t be able to hang safe space stickers in classrooms amongst a long list of other things. 

Now, after consulting with legal counsel, the district says these actions don’t go against the new law, only the direct instruction of gender identity and sexual orientation does. 

Lauren Fant used to be a social studies teacher in the district. 

“I consider myself very privileged because I’m a white woman, but I do identify as a queer woman. And I feel like it’s not necessarily a safe space for me anymore.”

Rachel Chapman is a teacher with OCPS. She says the confusion around the new law will make it harder for her to connect with her students.

“It’s more difficult to reach them not only educationally but also emotionally. And if students aren’t emotionally invested in what they’re learning, it can be a lot more difficult for them to learn. And we can create a lost generation of a whole group of students who just aren’t part of the school community anymore.”

The new law will take effect this Friday.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.