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Florida city condemns school district for refusing to recognize LGBTQ History Month

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The Miami Beach City Commission has released a resolution condemning the Miami-Dade School Board’s decision not to recognize LGBTQ History Month due to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.

The resolution encourages parents, parent-teacher associations, and school principals in Miami-Dade County to recognize October as LGBTQ History Month and to “teach LGBTQ history in their schools to the fullest extent permitted by the law.”

It also ordered the city to publish a sample resolution recognizing LGBTQ history month on its website that schools, clubs, and other organizations can use as a guide.

Out gay Commissioner Alex Fernandez sponsored the resolution, which passed 5-1.

“This is about the history, recognizing that we have a history, that we exist,” Fernandez told the Miami Herald. “We’re not pushing it on [school administrators], we’re just giving them the ability to make a determination.”

Last week, the Miami-Dade School Board voted 8-1 against recognizing October as LGBTQ History Month. They were joined at their meeting by several anti-LGBTQ groups, such as the Moms for Liberty and the extremist Proud Boys.

Even though the “Don’t Say Gay” laws explicitly forbids educators from acknowledging LGBTQ issues in classes from kindergarten through third grade, the law also forbids LGBTQ content from being taught in higher grade levels “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”

The law’s broad language has made educators worry that LGBTQ-themed lessons could land them in legal trouble, even if presented to older students, since the law allows parents to sue any school district that they believe violates it.

At the City Commission vote on the resolution to ignore the School Board’s decision, school board member Lucia Baez-Geller, the only person who voted in favor of recognizing LGBTQ History Month, reportedly gave an invocation at the start of the meeting.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber invited Baez-Geller to do so.

“I’ve been very troubled personally with the things I’ve heard out of Tallahassee and now our local school board,” Gelber said. “When you feel strongly about something happening in your city, you speak out.”

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