Group fears policy change will allow cross-dressing teachers in classrooms

Florida Family Council protesting potential move in Orange County

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida Family Council is protesting a change in wording to the nondiscrimination policy for Orange County Public Schools.

The group gathered in front of the OCPS School Board building at 10 a.m. Monday to protest the change of its nondiscrimination policy.

With the new policy, it would include "gender identity or gender expression." One of the policy changes protects the students, another the teachers and employees and a third proposed policy change includes bullying and harassment.

[READ: Previous policy for students, revised policy | Previous policy for teachers, revised | Previous policy for bullying, harassment,   revised  ]

Parents with the Family Council said they fear the policy change will open the door to having cross-dressing teachers in classrooms, which they believe could be unsafe for students.

"This gender non-discrimination proposal really imposes absurd obligations and absurd results," said John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council. "Under these ordinances and rule changes, basically, if a first, second, or third grade teacher who is 'Sam,' and wants to become 'Sally,' guess what? The first, second and third-graders just have to put up with that."

Woody Rodriguez, the attorney for the school board, says the proposal originally came from the teachers, who asked the district to update their policy with language that other large districts in Florida have already added.

"I would expect that if that situation arises, a teacher would address those concerns with his or her administrator, and it would be handled on a case by case basis," said Rodriguez.

He said the district would make sure no one takes advantage of the new policy.

"There's nothing that entitles someone who is genetically male to access female facilities, regardless of their transformation," Rodriguez said.

The School Board is supposed to vote on the policy update on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. But Chairman Bill Sublette said the school board will pull the proposal from the agenda and not vote on it, as he says it has become a "distraction."

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