Florida can't prevent a teacher from asking students to use her preferred pronouns, according to the rules – Top Stories (Trending Perfect)


Florida cannot prevent a 10th grade math teacher from asking her students to call her by their preferred pronouns. A federal judge ruled.

The decision by US District Judge Mark Walker is a blow to an anti-LGBT law championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, which bans discussion of sexuality in public schools. A 2023 Expansion of the measurewidely known as the “Don't Say Gay” law, prohibits teachers and students from using pronouns that match their gender identity.

Tuesday's decision, a preliminary injunction, bars the state of Florida from enforcing the law against Katie Wood, a transgender 10th-grade algebra teacher in Hillsborough County. Wood had always called herself “Mrs. Wood” at school, but the law made her require her students to call her “Teacher Wood” — a title no one else at the school used.

“Florida has a First Amendment problem. Lately, it has happened so frequently, some might say, that you could set your watch with it, Walker, an appointee of Barack Obama, wrote in his ruling. “The question before this Court is whether the First Amendment allows the state to dictate, without limitation, how public school teachers refer to themselves when communicating with students. The answer is a resounding ‘no.’

Wood and two transgender teachers He filed a lawsuit against the state in 2023Saying the law violates their constitutional right to free expression and equal protection under the law as well as federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex.

Walker's ruling Wednesday applies only to Wood, not statewide. Walker said her lawyers have yet to adequately explain why the law is unconstitutional on its face and not just unconstitutional because it was applied to her specifically.

Walker also declined to rule in favor of Av Schwandes, a non-binary teacher who was fired from a Florida virtual school after he began using the honorific moniker “Mx.” The Schwandes did not provide evidence that they were seeking employment at a school where their speech would be restricted by the use of pronouns or intended to take future actions where their First Amendment rights would be at risk.

At the end of his 60-page ruling, Walker, a judge known for his lively writing style, quoted Walt Whitman: “Song of Myself” He offered a comprehensive defense of why the Constitution protected Wood.

“By sharing her surname and preferred pronouns, Ms. Wood celebrates and sings for herself — not in a subversive or forced way, but in a way that skillfully defends her identity, dignity, and humanity,” he wrote. He added that the Florida law “silenced her, and by silencing her, forced her to live in an identity that was not her own.”

He continued: “The state of Florida did not justify this dangerous seizure, and therefore the Constitution of the United States does not tolerate it.” “Ours is a union of individuals, celebrating ourselves, singing for ourselves and being ourselves unapologetically.”



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