Q&A – The Florida Board of Education

Today’s Entry: Brian, thank you for your coverage of the Florida Board of Education’s meeting. I believe you mentioned there were 13 rules adopted to regulate Florida’s new law. I would love it if you would address each of those for us.  

Bottom Line: Actually, as it turned out, there were a total of 31 rules adopted by the Florida Board of Education during the course of their marathon two-day meeting last week. As I mentioned, there was a lot more to consider than just gender ID bathroom policy. But yeah, there was also the bathroom policy. Now, attempting to break down 31 new rules would potentially be as boring as it would be cumbersome. Many of the rules pertain to internal policies which don’t necessarily have a direct impact on what’s happening at schools with your kids. Others are somewhat niche. What I’ll do is focus on six which have the broadest application to parents and students alike.  

Rule: Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida 

Summary: The amendment prohibits classroom instruction to students in kindergarten through grade 3 on sexual orientation or gender identity and protects all students by expanding the definition of discrimination to include subjecting students to training or instruction that espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels any of the concepts listed in Section 1000.05(4)(a), F.S. 

What changed: This rule formalized a process for revoking a teachers’ license should they violate Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law by teaching inappropriate material to children in grades K-3. The law states educators Shall not intentionally provide classroom instruction to students in kindergarten through grade 3 on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Rule: School Board and Charter School Governing Board Policies or Procedures for Parental Notification Regarding Designation of Bathrooms, Locker Rooms, and Dressing Rooms 

Summary: This rule will allow both students and parents to have full knowledge if bathrooms and locker rooms will not be separated by biological sex at birth; therefore, allowing them to make informed decisions and requests for accommodations or modification. The rule includes requirements for school district procedures and for parental notification when a policy provides for separation based on something other than sex at birth. 

What changed: This rule mandates school districts notify parents of any bathrooms and locker rooms which aren’t separated on the basis of biological sex. Additionally, school districts which have mixed bathrooms and locker rooms must disclose the methods which will be used to ensure the safety and privacy of students.  

Rule: Education Records 

Summary: To protect student privacy when students are required to use online educational services or when districts contract with third party vendors or service providers. This rule will strengthen the privacy and rights of students and safeguard their educational record in accordance with state and federal law. 

What changed: The rule explicitly mandates minimum protections for student data when collected, stored and shared online including third-party vendors which may be used by school districts.  

Rule: Elementary School Website Listing of Library Materials and Reading Lists 

Summary: This new rule describes the searchable format for books, ebooks, periodicals, videos, and all other materials, as well as reading lists. In addition, the rule contains definitions to identify schools that must comply with the posting requirements. 

What changed: This rule requires school districts to make all reading material, which is available within schools, accessible for parents/the public to search by title or author. 

Rule: School Safety Requirements and Monitoring 

Summary: This amendment requires school districts to submit all school district and charter school policies and written procedures pertaining to the health, safety, or welfare of students to the Office of Safe Schools by July 1 of each year; provides that requirements for the maintenance and transfer of threat assessments are found in Rule 6A-1.0955, F.A.C.; clarifies and modifies school district reporting requirements for threat assessments; and includes the requirement for School Safety Specialists to ensure school personnel receive youth mental health awareness and assistance training as addressed within Section 1006.07(6), F.S. 

What changed: This rule mandates all school personnel receive youth mental health awareness training. School districts are to provide annual plans and reporting regarding procedures for health, safety and welfare of students.  

Rule: Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program 

Summary: The purpose of the rule amendment is a result of House Bill 461 being passed by the 2022 Florida Legislature that allows paid work hours to satisfy the volunteer service hour requirement. 

What changed: This rule allows for the community service mandate within the Bright Futures Scholarship program to be satisfied with proven hours worked with an employer.  

Again, these are just six of the rule changes, there are 25 more which weren’t enacted just for drill. It’s important to remember that it was renewed interest and parental engagement with our children’s education which was the catalyst for Florida’s Parental Rights in Education legislation in the first place. It’s important we remain engaged to ensure the law is being followed – in addition to advocating for any additional changes which you may feel should be made. 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.   

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com  

Gettr, Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio  

iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.   

Yellow school bus. Stop sign. Be careful, schoolchildren crossing the road. New academic year semester. Welcome back to school. Lockdown, distance remote education learning

Photo: Getty Images

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