POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Polk County School leaders are considering how to word a new discrimination policy.
It’s not what’s in the new policy that has some people upset, but rather the wording school leaders may leave out.
During a work session Tuesday, district officials talked about the new document that could soon be added to the school board manual, policy 2266, which aims to prevent gender discrimination in education programs and activities.
The document reads in part, “the school board does not discriminate on the basis of sex.”
School board officials are considering crossing out the next line, which includes the wording, sexual orientation, and gender identity in response to new laws passed by the state.
“These are directed and/or required due to changes in school code or state statutes,” Polk Schools Superintendent Fred Heid said during the work session.
Stephanie Yocum, President of the Polk Teachers Association said she believes schools and teachers are being put in a bad spot.
“Instead of worrying about making sure all people are included and educated and feel welcome, our school boards are having to respond to this hateful rhetoric coming from our state,” Yocum said.
Kerri McCoy, Vice President of Polk Pride said she worries about the impact it could have on LGBTQ youth.
“They already have a hard time in schools being picked on, bullied, they get into fights, things like that. So now we’re going to cross this out, we’re going to let everyone know ok, now it’s a free-for-all because we can discriminate against them, it doesn’t matter,” McCoy said.
The School Board declined to comment on the issue, saying it is still too early in discussions.
More discussions are expected to be held in either October or November.