News (USA)

Florida Dept. of Education yanks anti-bullying resources from website

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis Photo: Shutterstock

The Florida Department of Education has yanked down an anti-bullying portal on its website following questions about content designed for LGBTQ students. They say the information is “under review.”

The department removed links to a state anti-bullying policy, bullying prevention efforts, ways to support minority students, and LGBTQ advocacy groups during the purge of life-saving information. It is unclear what information needed to be “reviewed.”

Related: 7th grader dies by suicide after classmates told him he’d go to Hell for being gay

The information was pulled down after a right-wing news service with ties to Steve Bannon and Donald Trump inquired whether or not the site was in violation of the state’s Parents’ Bill of Rights.

The law, passed earlier this year, says public schools cannot infringe upon parents’ “fundamental rights” to raise their child according to their beliefs. The law, a nod to the culture wars over LGBTQ rights and examinations of America’s racist history, covers healthcare, education, and mental health.

The portal had recommended to administrators that they should be careful when discussing a student’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity with parents so they didn’t accidentally out the student. Following guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the department instructed teachers to protect children’s privacy.

Critics say this guidance runs afoul of the new law that gives parents total control over their kids.

The portal was designed after the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. The state established the Office of Safe Schools to fight student bullying and provide safe learning environments.

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