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January 26, 2023
The Miami-Dade School Board in Florida voted 5-4 on Wednesday to reject two textbooks on human sexuality, one for middle school and one for high school.
According to Florida Politics, the board adopted one of the textbooks called “Comprehensive Health Skills” in April but asked the publisher to remove a chapter called “Understanding Sexuality,” which covers gender and sexual orientation among other topics,
Parents later challenged the material, citing the parental rights law passed by Gov. Ron DeSantis in March. The law “prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels.”
In Wednesday’s meeting, 38 out of 40 members of the public spoke in favor of keeping the textbook. Those who spoke against the books did so over it’s alleged promotion of vaccines and it’s discussions on contraception and abortion. Those in favor of the books said that the material was necessary information.
Board member Luisa Santos, who voted in favor of the book, reminded parents that they can opt out of material they don’t want their children to be taught. “We will be opting out everyone in the following school year. Including all the people who have come here and told us that they want this,” Santos said.
“Half of all high school kids have sex before they graduate from high school, that’s not something we’re gonna change,” said Marika Lynch, a parent of three who spoke at the meeting. “So do we want them to have the best information? Yes. Do I want my kids who are all pre-teens to have the best information? Absolutely, that’s what we’re here for today.”
Mari Teri Rojas, who voted against the textbook said she did so because of the book’s discussion of various kinds of contraception. “It is something that I personally do not believe is something that is age appropriate for those students to address,” she said.
“We are not against sexual education, we are not against human reproduction and disease education books, we are for statutory compliance, age appropriateness in the content, factual content, and compliance with parental rights as protected by Florida state law,” said Alex Serrano, who represents the local chapter of County Citizens Defending Freedom, according to NBC Miami.
Several listed several areas of discussion that he was opposed to teaching in schools. These included: “Matters related to their sexuality, to their health, to their human reproduction, to abortion, to access to plan B pills, matters related to contraceptive methods.”
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: MIAMI HERALD