Miami-Dade School Board’s public speaking on LGBTQ History Month recognition continues

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The Miami-Dade School Board allowed dozens of public speakers on Wednesday to voice their positions on a resolution to recognize October as LGBTQ History Month.

School board member Marta Pérez, who represents District 8, said she was concerned about misinformation by The Christian Coalition, an organization that is standing against the recognition.

“I am very, very disappointed,” Pérez said about the organization’s criticism.

School board chair Perla Tabares Hantman, who represents District 4, said the item was listed as H-11 on the meeting’s agenda.

The school board’s vice chair Steve Gallon III, who represents District 1, and the other members agreed to end the public speaking on the issue at about 5:50 pm

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Attorney Alejandro Serrano, one of the public speakers, claimed the measure was against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill. School Board Attorney Walter James Harvey said the recognition itself isn’t against the law, but the curriculum could be.

“They can file complaints. There is a special magistrate process … There is a procedure that requires expeditious review,” Harvey said about the Parental Rights in Education bill.

Gallon III said 66 people spoke during the first opportunity for public comment on H-11. He said the board needed to move on to the second 2022-23 budget public hearing before some 50 more public speakers could take their turn to speak on H-11.

“The Democratic process provides an opportunity for the people to be heard,” Gallon III said.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

The Miami-Dade School Board is discussing whether or not to recognize October as LGBTQ History Month.

Scott Galvin, the director of Safe Schools South Florida; Alberto Cairo, a University of Miami professor; Nancy Lawther, a PTA leader; and Rev. Candace Thomas were among those in support of adopting H-11.

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Maxx Fenning, the founder of PRISM, said LGBTQ history is American history and there were at least 700 signatures from Miami-Dade residents who are in support of the recognition.

“You can’t teach history without controversy,” Fenning said.

Elizabeth Santander and Rachel Morales, both mothers of public school students, said the recognition was in violation of the state and federal laws that protect their parental and religious rights.

“Parents have the right to choose what type of education our children receive,” Santander said.

Eulalia Maria Jimenez, the chair of Moms for Liberty Miami-Dade, asked the school board members to vote against the recognition and said it equated to “indoctrination.”

A trans woman was among the supporters who said there were members of “hate groups” in the audience that were using words such as “indoctrination” to “dehumanize” the LGBTQ community.

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MaryBeth Loretta said she grew up in the MDCPS system and didn’t feel like it was inclusive. The clinician at The Alliance for LGBTQ+ Youth asked the members to support the recognition “like Christ would do.”

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