Florida adds ‘pronouns’ to long list of education stressors

“Pronouns” have joined the many other words and phrases that have been chewed up, spit out and stretched and folded to its limit into a buzzword on social media, the nightly news, and in political talking points. It’s now in Florida law as something for school districts to monitor and enforce, beginning this school year.
In the eyes of Florida education law, after the passage of HB 1069 and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature, a person’s pronoun must correspond with his or her sex – which the law defines as the classification of a person at birth as male or female.
No teacher or student can be required to refer to a person by pronouns that don’t correspond with their assigned sex, and school employees are prohibited from asking students to refer to themselves by pronouns different than their assigned sex, according to the new law.
Students also cannot be required by schools to give preferred pronouns. Brandon Wolf, the press secretary for Equality Florida, an LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, contended that the law is meant to confuse parents and school districts about what is and isn’t allowed.
“The language of the law permits discrimination, it doesn’t require it – but [the DeSantis administration] is hoping that school districts will read it to its most extreme version,” Wolf said.
Orange County Public Schools advised its principals on Aug. 7 to distribute a memorandum to teachers of the Office of Legal Services’ interpretation of education bills, including HB 1069. “‘Sex’ is defined as the hormones and genitals present at birth,” the document stated. “This means a student’s sex or employee’s sex is defined by birth sex, not the gender in which the student or employee identify.”

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