Groups slam Florida for removal of anti-harassment webpage, say LGBTQ students will be hurt

TALLAHASEE – Advocacy groups criticize the Florida Department of Education for removing an anti-harassment web page from its site, saying the move will hurt LGBTQ students.

A spokesperson for the state’s Education Department said on Wednesday it had taken down the portal because it contained links to federal sites that “previously provided useful advice and information, but are now used as platforms. advocacy “.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said it was “shocked” by the decision.

“These resources have been a lifeline for students who identify as LGBTQ +, offering hope that Florida schools can remain a safe space where they are treated fairly and can learn without fear,” said Scott McCoy , Acting Deputy Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, released a statement calling the decision politically motivated.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis this year signed a bill that bans girls and transgender women from playing on public school teams for student-athletes identified as girls at birth. The deletion of the webpage also comes as Florida and the US Department of Education fight over the state’s decision to penalize school boards for mask mandates.

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