JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – During a meeting of the Duval County School Board on Tuesday night, Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene spent approximately 10 minutes addressing the district’s decision to end its decades-long services agreement with JASMYN, an organization that provides resources for the LGBTQ community.
The decision came after a social media post from the organization that showed images of an adult novelty card game, marketed toward those 18 years or older. The game has players match cartoon images of male genitals.
There was backlash over the now-deleted post, and in response to the district’s decision, JASMYN CEO Cindy Watson said that the post was a mistake, but that the district’s decision was ultimately “hasty,” as the game had never been played by or exposed to children, other than those who might follow the Instagram page.
The district defended its decision, saying it was the result of JASMYN’s inappropriate “program materials,” though the group denies that the card game is part of any program or materials JASMYN uses in its GSA sponsorships or anti-bullying campaigns with DCPS.
On Tuesday, Greene addressed the decision head-on.
“I felt like it was very important to talk about our termination with JASMYN and give some background, talk about how we got to that point and where we’re moving forward,” Greene said.
(Click the image below for Dr. Diana Greene’s full, uncut remarks)
While giving her remarks, Greene said it was imperative that she got two things across.
“No. 1, that as a constitutional officer, it is my responsibility to ensure the safety and security of all of our students,” Greene said. “And at any point if there is an event situation that could possibly put our students in harm’s way it is my responsibility to take action. Sometimes that action requires me to take it to board approval. Other times if it is under my authority, I have the authority to make that decision. And that is what happened in this situation.”
“The second thing that I need to be clear this issue is not about the services that JASMYN provides,” Greene went on to say. “Those services will continue to be a community support for our students because our students and their families know that they can utilize that resource and that will not stop. The thing that will stop is that the school district will no longer be contracting directly with JASMYN and as I listed the services we will have to provide those services or work with the other partners that we have in the grant to pick up any particular service that we feel we can’t provide internally to indicate whether to see whether our other partners can provide those services.”
Greene added that the district’s relationship with students and the support they need will never cease.