Brevard Public Schools has a document on its website called “LGBTQ+ District Guidance” that serves as guidelines regarding how school staff and teachers must act regarding LGBTQ students. The school district states in the document that “these guidelines were established to ensure the safety of every student is met, including our students who identify as or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ).” The school district also provides the definition of “gender identity” in the document as “one’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves.”
The document explains that all students “are to be referred to by the gender pronoun and name consistent with their gender identity in verbal and written communication, i.e., in class, at assemblies, on school ID badges, and all other unofficial documents such as honor roll certificates and yearbook.” Students are also “allowed to access locker rooms and restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity or be provided appropriate accommodations.”
The document further explains that “all students have the right to form and participate in a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) or any LGTBQ+ related organization, including student named and generated clubs, as they would with any other club.” The document then appears to state that parents may not be told by school staff if their children come out as LGBTQ. The document explains: “All LGBTQ+ students have the right to decide when and to whom their gender identity and sexual orientation is shared.”
The following are the guidelines listed in the document:
- All students may dress and present in ways that are consistent with their gender identity and expression, while still abiding by the Brevard Public Schools dress code, including at any school sponsored events and functions. This includes dances, graduation, JROTC, etc. The full-dress code can be found in Board Policy 5511 or within the code of student conduct.
- All students are to be referred to by the gender pronoun and name consistent with their gender identity in verbal and written communication, i.e., in class, at assemblies, on school ID badges, and all other unofficial documents such as honor roll certificates and yearbook. Only “official” documents must use a student’s legal name. Official documents include registration, report cards, diploma, standardized tests, student cum files, ISP/s/S504 Plans, before and after school registration documents.
- All students are allowed to access locker rooms and restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity or be provided appropriate accommodations. If accommodations are desired, decisions should be student driven and with district support on a case-by-case basis.
- All students may bring same-gender dates to any school sponsored event or function. This includes dances, graduation, JROTC, etc. All students shall be allowed to participate in school traditions, however if the tradition includes gender separated components, then all students may participate in a manner consistent to their gender identity.
- In accordance with the SB 1021. Section 1006.205 (Fairness in Women’s Sports Act), interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams that are sponsored by a public secondary school must be expressly designated based on the biological sex at birth of team members; a statement of a student’s biological sex on the student’s official birth certificate is considered to have correctly stated the student’s biological sex at birth.
- All students have the right to form and participate in a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) or any LGTBQ+ related organization, including student named and generated clubs, as they would with any other club.
- All LGBTQ+ students have the right to decide when and to whom their gender identity and sexual orientation is shared. School mental health providers and trusted adults are encouraged to support students in determining a safe and affirming learning environment.
- All faculty, staff, and students are afforded the same rights and protections under district, state, and federal policy. It is imperative that students, school staff, and other adults feel safe, included, and empowered on our school campuses, and at school related events and functions.
Brevard Public Schools promotes an “Office of Equity and Diversity” on its website. The school district’s website explains that this office “is committed to upholding the mission of Brevard Public Schools by serving every student with excellence as a standard through advancement in educational equity and cultivating a culturally inclusive climate of belonging and dignity for all students, staff, and stakeholders to thrive.” The following are goals for this office:
- Close achievement gaps and eliminate disparities in among our diverse student population.
- Transform employment practices and professional development to eliminate biases as barriers to equity and inclusion.
- Support the highest levels of respect, inclusion and belonging of our diverse student and employee population.
- Review, recommend and implement policies and procedures to dismantle disproportionality across the district.
- Respond to the concerns and challenges that affect our pursuit of equity and belonging.
- Increase family and community engagement throughout the county.
The website’s equity page also has a rainbow “Safe Space” image from “Equality Florida.” The organization Equality Florida promotes an effort called “TransAction” that pushes for children to be allowed to change their genders. Equality Florida states: “TransAction has also been highly engaged in public policy issues, supporting inclusive Human Rights Ordinances across Florida and pushing back on anti-trans legislation like the Trans Youth Sports Ban and the Trans Youth Medical Care Ban.” The “TransAction” program is also responsible for “hundreds of diversity trainings throughout the state at major corporations, health care systems, law enforcement agencies, faith organizations, schools, and universities.”
Equality Florida also has a “TransAction Leadership Academy” that targets children. The organization states that this academy “is designed to train and develop selected youth leaders from our rapidly emerging trans and enby community in areas or organizing, advocacy, public policy, public speaking, and program management.” The term “enby” is slang for “nonbinary.” The purpose of the academy is to train young children so that they can also advocate for transgender issues.
The school district’s website also has a page promoting the “Director of Equity and Diversity” Danielle McKinnon. The school district explains that Danielle McKinnon’s “most valued roles include serving as the Founding Chair of Valencia College’s African Heritage Committee (now Valencia African Heritage Association), Employee Resource Group Development Coach, Cultural-Awareness Event Coordinator and more importantly – being a mother.” The district also states that in 2020 she “began serving as Brevard Public Schools’ Director of Equity and Diversity – a new role that will assist the district in transformative and collaborative DEI-B (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) advancement and commitment through a culture of respect and dignity to eradicate student achievement and employment inequities.”
The school district’s website has a page labeled “Cultural and Diversity Observances.” This page has a rainbow image at the top celebrating “Pride Month.” The school district states: “Through year-round opportunities to recognize diversity and cultural observances, we will foster a culture where all people are valued by respectfully embracing what makes us different as a source of strength to make us stronger together. Although every cultural observance may not be recognized through federal or state proclamation, they are publicly recognized across our country and communities.”
This page links to a document from the school district titled “Pride (LGBTQI+) Month.” The school district states:
Pride Month is observed annually in June to promote equality and support the LGBTQI+ Community, often exhibited through festivals, marches and opportunities to showcase the colors of the rainbow and glitter which represents inclusion. It is a time to recognize the history, struggles, achievements, and continuing contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community in the United States. The LGBT rights movement in the US was kickstarted in 1969 with the Stonewall riots, led by protestors striving for equality and safe spaces. Pride Day is also largely celebrated on June 28th, which commemorates the first Pride March held in New York City in 1970. The rainbow flag was designed in 1978 by Gilbert Baker.
On September 19, 2019, the Board of Education appeared to update the school district’s “Nondiscrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity” policy to specifically mention “transgender status” and “gender identity.” The policy now states: “The Board does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation, transgender status, or gender identity), disability (including HIV, AIDS, or sickle cell trait), pregnancy, marital status, age (except as authorized by law), religion, military status, ancestry, or genetic information which are classes protected by State and/or Federal law (collectively, ‘protected classes’) in its programs and activities, including employment opportunities.”
On February 8, 2022, the Board of Education appeared to update the school district’s “Anti-Harassment” policy to include “gender status” and “gender identity.” The policy now states: “The Board will vigorously enforce its prohibition against discriminatory harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation, gender status, or gender identity), disability (including HIV, AIDS, or sickle cell trait), pregnancy, marital status, age (except as authorized by law), religion, military status, ancestry, or genetic information.”
The school district has a resource document titled “Crisis Helplines/Text Lines/Online Chat Lines.” One section of this resource document is titled “LGBTQ+.” A resource in this section links to the organization “Trans Lifeline” that provides resources to help people transitioning to another gender change their federal ID. The organization also appears to advocate against calling the police and even links to a website called “Defund The Police.”
The school district’s website has documents promoting scholarships for specifically “LGBT” students. In one document promoting a “49 Fund Scholarship,” students “must be ‘out’ as a person who self identifies as a member of the LGBT community.” Students additionally “must demonstrate a proven and significant impact in their community as defined by applicant’s ability to communicate in writing their leadership skills and support of and contribution to the LGBT community.” In another document titled “Scholarships for the 2020 – 2021 School Year,” the school district promotes a scholarship called “Phoenix Flight” for students “who are actively involved in an organization that supports LGBT causes.”