Hillsborough County Schools took a bold stance in declaring two proclamations promoting diversity yesterday. This comes soon after new Florida laws clamping down on diversity and inclusion.
School Board member Jessica Vaughn read the Pride Month proclamation:
“The lesbian gay bisexual transgender and queer communities contribute to the educational, cultural, civic, and educational successes of Hillsborough County”
Henry Washington, Vice Chair of the School board, read the Juneteenth proclamation.
“For more than 150 years, Black Americans have celebrated freedom and resilience, and the history of the African American journey on Juneteenth. The significance of Juneteenth is one of the most important reminders of fundamental meaning of freedom in our country.”
Public comment remained mixed. Carmen Edmonds spoke out against the LGBTQ proclamation:
“We as a school district have more important things to focus on.”
While others, like Vanessa, argued for it:
“We can’t let history repeat itself. Kids of all diverse backgrounds, abilities, and disabilities deserve the right to equal access and representation.”
Proclamations like these have drawn both support and opposition elsewhere in Florida. For example, in nearby Polk County, commissioners refused to declare a Pride Month proclamation.
The Juneteenth proclamation passed the Hillsborough School Board unanimously, and the Pride Month proclamation passed with 5 yes votes. Members Stacy Hahn voted no and Patti Rendon abstained.
At Tuesday’s meeting, they also selected a new interim superintendent, Van Ayres.