Florida parents oust principal after sixth graders see Michelangelo’s David
In Florida, the state has made headlines in education-related headlines to strengthen parental rights and regulate content at many levels, including colleges, parents ousted a principal after their sixth-graders saw a picture of Michelangelo David sculpture.
Hope Carrasquilla of Tallahassee Classical School in Leon County tendered her resignation this week after receiving an ultimatum from the school board: resign or be fired. The chairman of the school board, Barney Bishop III, confirmed to the Washington Post that three parents filed complaints saying the statue and surrounding material were “controversial” and not age-appropriate for their children. They also complained that they were not warned in advance. A relative thought it was “pornographic”.
“She wasn’t let go because of the artistic nude photos. We show it every year to our students,” Bishop said, referring to the school’s curriculum, which is designed to introduce students to cultural tradition. “The problem with this particular issue was the lack of follow through on the process” – the fact that parents were not informed in advance.
Florida elementary schools have been the subject of fierce national debate. Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education Act which, in addition to strengthening parental rights, prevents teaching about sexuality and gender in the early elementary grades. Many on the left have criticized the law, and most media refuse to call it by its real name, preferring to call it the “don’t say gay” law.
However, criticism has also emerged on the right over the scope of government intervention, the difficulty of drawing the line in marginal cases and whether it is prudent to encourage increased litigation between parents.
“To consider the potential scope of the law, imagine a young student asking a teacher why his classmate has two mothers or two fathers. If the teacher responds with a factual and neutral response, is he opening his school district to litigation? commentator David French wrote in the Atlantic Last year. “After all, answering class questions, even when they are not directly curriculum-related, is the ordinary meaning of the term. Classroom teaching.”
“The right is now unlearning freedom. After decades of litigation and legislation, he largely got what he wanted: a much freer marketplace of ideas. But it’s hard for a commitment to freedom to survive partisan animosity,” French continued.
According to Bishop, DeSantis’ educational program is something to be strongly applauded. “Parental rights are supreme,” he told the Job.
DeSantis now wants to expand the law from coverage of children through grade three to coverage of children and young adults through grade 12. Expanding the scope of the law would also increase the complexities for teachers, administrators, parents and students to decide.
“There is no reason for instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity to be part of K-12 public education. Full stop,” tweeted On Wednesday afternoon, DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin responded to criticism from the White House.
The Governor of Florida is also trying to ensure that certain concepts about race, gender, and sexuality are not taught in Florida colleges and universities. The Individual Liberty Act, commonly dubbed the “Stop-WOKE” Act, has been criticized by groups concerned with free speech and academic freedom.
Last week, the 11th United States Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request by the DeSantis administration and higher education officials to lift an injunction that failed to allow enforcement.
“Teachers must be able to discuss topics such as race and gender without hesitation or fear of state reprisal,” the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, or FIRE, quoted in the statement said. policy.
“Any law that limits the free exchange of ideas in university classrooms should lose both in court and in the court of public opinion,” the group said.
When issuing the preliminary injunction, Judge Mark Walker called the law ‘positively dystopian’ and noted that one of the concepts students were barred from being instructed on was effectively synonymous with affirmative action. .
Florida argued that the state can regulate instruction in state university classrooms and can also determine the curriculum.
“Plaintiffs’ First Amendment challenge fails because the Florida government has simply chosen to regulate its own speech — the curriculum used at state universities and the classroom instruction offered by state employees — and the First Amendment simply has no application in this context,” the Florida filing read.
FIRE countered that this argument is at odds with all appellate courts that have considered this issue.
He also pointed to Florida’s admission that his theory meant that if the Florida government changed hands, it “could ban . . . instruction on American exceptionalism because it alienates people of color and minorities because it suggests. . . this American has no dark side that needs to be nuanced.
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