After The Florida Capital Star sought comment from officials about a web page with hyper-links to LGBTQ advocacy groups on the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) website, the web page was removed.
FDOE officials told The Capital Star that the content on the web page was under review.
The Capital Star also found that at least one Florida school district was using the resources on the FDOE web page as justification for certain LGBTQ school activities.
When asked to provide the school policies that support advocacy of LGBTQ issues in middle schools, the Leon County School District provided a link to the FDOE web page with the external links to the LGBTQ groups.
The web page in question originated from the Safe Schools Department within the FDOE. The web page provided external links to resources related to bullying for educators, parents and students. However, a number of the links redirected users to a website advocating for LGBTQ issues.
One of the links redirected users to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GSLEN).
GSLEN was founded by a group of teachers in 1990 interested in creating affirming learning environments for LGBTQ youth. The group encourages teachers to integrate aspects of the LGBTQ lifestyle with their curriculum and provides recommended policies and lesson plans.
GSLEN is part of a billion dollar network that funds LGBTQ groups. These groups are focused on initiatives that promote gender identity and transgenderism by training leaders in political activism.
In addition, GLSEN states that school staff “should not disclose any information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others, including parents or guardians and other school staff, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.”
Another link on the FDOE web page redirected users to stopbullying.gov, an official website of the United States government. The link provided guidance related LGBTQ bullying.
The guidance encourages school officials to conduct social-emotional learning activities to foster peer-relationships and help students develop empathy and to identify “safe spaces,” such as counselors’ offices or designated classrooms, where LGBTQ youth can receive support from administrators, teachers, or other school staff.
The guidance also recommends student-led and student-organized school clubs such as gay-straight alliances or gender and sexuality alliances.
The site, earlier this year, advised school officials “not to disclose or discuss sexual identity issues with parents or anyone else, without the young person’s prior permission, unless there is an immediate threat to their safety or wellbeing.” This language appears to have recently been removed from the site.
FDOE did not indicate when the review of the web page would be completed.
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Steve Stewart is the Managing Editor and a contributor at The Florida Capital Star. Email tips to [email protected]