Miami-Dade School Board votes no to recognizing LGBTQ+ History Month

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The Miami-Dade County School Board voted no overnight to recognizing the month of October as LGBTQ+ History Month.

The sponsor, in a committee meeting last week said it’s a symbolic gesture as they do with other months such as Hispanic Heritage Month and Black History Month.

“Because the LGBTQ exists in Miami-Dade, it’s made significant contributions to our country and county and we have LGTBQ students,” said Miami-Dade School Board Member Lucia Baez-Geller. “It does not impact or affect instructional materials, and I cannot believe I have to say this out loud, but this item does not indoctrinate our students into any sort of lifestyle.”

School Board members, however, voted no to the proposal for a second time after a 12-hour marathon meeting.

As expected, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appointees were among the board members to vote no.

Board Chair Mari Tere Rojas voted no, as well.

At the meeting on Wednesday, Vice Chair Danny Espino along with board members expressed concern about the legality of the resolution, saying it might violate the Parental Rights in Education law’s limits on discussion of sexual and gender identity in the K-12 education system.

“At this point, unfortunately, I cannot support this,” said Espino.

DeSantis signed the controversial HB1557 into law on March 28, 2022, and the law took effect on July 1 last year.

At the committee meeting last week, members who were either appointed or endorsed by DeSantis, vowed not to vote for the item.

“As constitutional officers, we have to uphold state law and it’s very clear what that law is,” said Miami-Dade School Board Member Monica Colucci.

Some board members cited the current Parental Rights Law, in what critics call the “Don’t Say Gay Law” as the reason.

But the school board attorney said similar items have passed in Broward and Orange counties and do not break the law.

“Our students are out there and they’re visible, and we can’t put them back in the shadows, unfortunately, like some people would like to,” said Baez-Geller.

Here is how each board member voted:

  • Luisa Santos – YES
  • Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall - YES
  • Lucia Baez-Geller - YES
  • Roberto J. Alonso - NO
  • Danny Espino - NO
  • Mari Tere Rojas – NO
  • Monica Colucci - NO
  • Mary Blanco - NO

Watch Wednesday’s board meeting in the video below.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.