Florida’s New Rules for the New School Year

Florida’s New Rules for the New School Year  

Bottom Line: Today is the first day of school in the Palm Beaches and for several other school districts across the state. The new school year comes with a host of new rules which were recently adopted by Florida’s Board of Education. In recent years, on the back of the pandemic and multiple Parental Rights in Education laws, many of Florida’s rule changes have been high profile. This year’s new rules were no exception. There are a total of 21 laws which took effect July 1st, which prompted new rules by the Florida Board of Education to come into compliance. Those laws are: 

A total of 27 new rules were adopted in advance of the new school year. The rules fall into two categories. Those which impact educators on the administrative side and those which impact students. Rule changes which will affect students heading back to the classroom today include two which specifically change what’s taught in the classroom:  

Florida’s health curriculum has been updated for the first time since 2014 and includes updated information pertaining to parental rights allowing for parents to opt their children out of sexual education with written notice. Additionally, the board decided to prohibit gender identity and sexual orientation education through 12th grade. While that’s gained attention, the more controversial of the two has been the change with the state’s Social Studies curriculum which amended the African American history course to include a section about skills learned and derived by slaves which they were able to apply in other facets of life. Other changes which directly impact students include... 

The Protection of Children law dictates that minors aren’t present at adult performances. In the context of Florida’s Department of Education, the rule which was enacted states the following via the Executive Summary:   

  • The purpose of this new rule is to protect the fundamental rights of parents by ensuring that children are not exposed to inappropriate school-sponsored events and activities. This rule will enhance the safety and welfare of students and protect parental rights.  

The rule addressing the Facility Requirements Based on Sex, or “bathrooms” law states the following:  

  • Requires restrooms and changing facilities at K-12 education institutions must be designated for exclusive use by males or females, or that there is a unisex restroom / changing facility  
  • The amendment protects parental rights and enhances student safety by updating the prohibitions regarding instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity. Two new disciplinary principles are created to make it a violation for a certified educator to enter the restroom or changing facility designated for the opposite sex.  

As it pertains to pronouns the new rule states:   

  • Shall not violate (the state statute pertaining to the use of pronouns). That statue reads: It shall be the policy of every public K-12 educational institution that is provided or authorized by the Constitution and laws of Florida that a person's sex is an immutable biological trait and that it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person's sex.  

Florida enters this school year with the highest ranking (14th) in K-12 education in the state’s history having made consistent progress in recent years despite the adversity of the pandemic. Here’s to hoping the 2023-2024 year continues the positive trend.  

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