TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Board of Education met in Naples Wednesday to approve a new slate of administrative rules, including one expanding the state’s bathroom restrictions in K-12 private schools and the state’s college system.
The rules stem from the “Safety in Private Spaces Act,” or HB1521, which the state legislature passed last session. The new rules require restrooms and changing facilities at private schools and Florida College System institutions to be designated for exclusive use by biological males or females, or provide a single-occupant, unisex restroom/changing facility.
Many people attended Wednesday’s meeting, including students and parents, who mostly opposed the changes. Although there were several supporters who spoke, many of whom are members of the conservative group Moms for Liberty.
Former state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, who now works for the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Florida, condemned the changes.
“They’ve gone beyond what the law required them to do,” Smith said. “They mandated investigations into complaints under the anti-trans bathroom law.”
Many took issue with the new rule adding new penalties for someone who uses restrooms or other changing facilities like locker rooms or dorm bathrooms that don’t align with their sex at birth.
The deadline for these institutions to comply with these rules is April 1, 2024.