A group of Trump supporters and other ultra-conservatives have come under fire for harassing parents and children outside a school in Brevard County, Florida this week.
Kids entered the school building amid yelling of “queers,” “pedophiles” and other homophobic slurs, as the protesters waved signs which also contained homophobic and transphobic language. A new school policy that would treat LGBTQ students in accordance with the standards of federal law sparked the outrage.
Flordia Today reports that the new policy states, in part, “students may dress as the gender with which they identify, should be referred to by their preferred names and pronouns, can access locker rooms and restrooms consistent with their gender identities or be provided appropriate accommodations, and can participate in gender-segregated school clubs and activities, including sports, consistent with their gender identity.”
Ironically, the policy itself had already been adopted and was not open to debate. The outrage stems from a document which began circulating earlier this month outlining how faculty should treat and interact with LGBTQ students. The protesters came to disrupt the school board meeting in hopes of rescinding the policy, but had their plans thwarted when they learned that COVID-19 guidelines stated that anyone wishing to make remarks during the meeting had to sign up in advance. As such, most of the protesters had to remain outside where they shouted their slurs at parents and children entering the building.
Inside the meeting itself, more parents and students spoke out in favor of the policy. No students spoke out against it.
“We are just children going to school,” transgender student Andrew Triolo told the board during the meeting. “We want to learn to make friends and play sports, nothing more. Queer students are no different from other students in our school.”
School board chair Misty Belford also issued a rebuke to the protesters.
“We are all subject to state and federal law,” Belford told the community. “To the point: Are we legally required to do the things on the document? We are, and we will.”
“We don’t just have accommodations for trans students, we have accommodations for all students,” Belford added. “That is what we have done for decades and will continue to do in Brevard County.”
The adoption of the pro-queer school policies follows a ruling by a federal court last August against a Florida school that had prohibited a transgender student from using the boys’ restrooms. Nationwide, transgender rights continue to take a center-stage position in school policies with Mississippi banning transgender students from participating in sports earlier this week, while transgender students in North Carolina can now list their chosen name on school documents.