Miami-Dade superintendent reacts to board vote against LGBTQ+ History Month

MIAMI – Miami-Dade County Public Schools will once again not be recognizing LGBTQ+ History Month after the school board voted against the measure this week for a second time.

It was a done deal, even before hours of public hearing during Wednesday’s school board meeting that got heated at times.

The meeting that began at 11 a.m. Wednesday did not end until after midnight Thursday.

Supporting board members referenced new state laws putting guardrails on sex and gender curriculum.

“We’ve put in all the legal protections and that includes no instructional materials,” said board member Lucia Baez-Geller, who voted for the motion.

“We are indeed sending a mixed message to our educators,” said board member Monica Colucci, who voted against the motion.

The board and superintendent seemed united against the animosity when speaking on Thursday.

“We have a new landscape we have to contend with, but the best of us, who we are as one, is really important,” said Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Jose Dotres.

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 Wednesday, Vice Chair Danny Espino and others 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.

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

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

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

About the Authors:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."

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.