The Florida Board of Education (BOE) voted Wednesday to require restrooms in private K-12 schools and state colleges to be used on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
The new rule requires all institutions within the Florida College System to alert the Florida BOE if their bathrooms and locker rooms within instructional spaces and dormitories are separated on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. If violations of the policy are reported, institutions must have an investigation process that determines disciplinary actions, such as termination, under the rule.
“Bathroom spaces are very intimate and private,” Grazie Christie, a Florida BOE member, told the outlet. “There is historically and cross culturally accurate reasons why males and females use different spaces in those intimate moments, not just for girls and women, but also for boys and men. This is not something that as a culture we should ditch because of very, very new ideologies that are challenging the science of male and female, which doesn’t change because biology doesn’t change.”
The rule was adopted to comply with House Bill 1521, which was signed into law in May and requires bathrooms and locker rooms within schools, higher education institutions, government buildings, prisons and jails to be used on the basis of biological sex, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
The Florida BOE also adopted a rule Wednesday that allows parents to challenge a school board’s decision on whether a book should be available to students to a Special Magistrate, according to ABC Action News. The book will not automatically be removed upon the parent’s appeal.
Throughout the country, school boards, parents and lawmakers are debating how bathrooms and locker rooms should be separated; Virginia’s largest school district announced that it would be rejecting guidance from the state that requires students and teachers to use bathrooms on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity. The American Civil Liberties Union sued a Missouri school district in July after the administration allegedly barred a male student from using the girl’s bathroom.
“Trans people just want to pee in a stall safely and mind their own business, and now college students can’t even do that in their own housing,” Max Fenning, executive director of PRISM, an LGBTQ activist group, told the Tallahassee Democrat.
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