Community organizations throw Pride rally, party outside Duval County School Board

Organizations voiced need for ‘comprehensive LGBTQ Student Support Guide’

The event showed support for the LGBTQ+ community and raised funds for local organizations such as JASMYN, a social services organization that offers a variety of programs and services for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults 13-29.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Public School Defenders hosted a Pride celebration and rally on Tuesday at the Duval County School Board.

According to a release, the organization is calling on the Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, Dr. Diana Greene, and the Duval County School Board, to “maintain a comprehensive LGBTQ+ Support Guide for students and families.”

The event showed support for the LGBTQ+ community and raised funds for local organizations such as JASMYN, a social services organization that offers a variety of programs and services for LGBTQ+ youth and young adults 13-29.

The meeting featured community discussions and called for a safe, affirming environment in Duval County schools.

Related: Pride month 2022: Here is your event guide across Northeast Florida | Acosta Bridge displays rainbow colors recognizing Pride Month

One topic of discussion was the current changes in Florida made by Gov. DeSantis that directly impact the LGBTQ+ community -- such as the signing of the “Parental Rights in Education” bill -- dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics -- in March that forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. The policy has drawn intense national scrutiny from critics who argue it marginalizes LGBTQ people.

A new 2022 policy in St. Johns County Schools was also adopted that requires employees to notify a student’s parents if that student wants to change their pronouns. This was announced around the same time the Parental Rights in Education bill was being debated in Tallahassee.

Recently, St. Johns County School District Media Advisory Committees recommended putting new restrictions on controversial books in its libraries. A small group of parents has appealed more than 50 district library books they say contain subjects that are inappropriate for children, such as suicide, gender identity and sex.

Related: Duval County School Board reworks LGBTQ+ support guide, may notify parents of name change

“Duval County Public School’s original LGBTQ Student Support Guide is under attack, with over half the guide planning to be erased for the next school year,” a post from Equality Florida said.

Equality Florida said they want to ensure Duval County provides a safe and inclusive environment for all LGBTQ students -- and is pushing a comprehensive LGBTQ Student Support Guide.

The rally began at 5 p.m. at the Duval County School Board.

The district document has come under scrutiny since the “Parental Right in Education” law was passed and the district plans to rework the guide.

About the Authors:

Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.

Carianne Luter is a social media producer for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in communications.