Pasco County Schools has a diverse population of students, staff, and parents, and as a school district we respect and support the diversity of views and lifestyle choices. It is important that we make our support evident in policy and in practice, and that we reiterate our commitment to supporting all students.
In that context, we must ensure that the actions we take to comply with recent legislation are not misinterpreted as a wavering in our commitment. Due to recent legislation concerning parental rights, our school district will no longer utilize “safe spaces” and will no longer display “safe space” stickers. The “safe space” stickers will be removed, as they have become a flashpoint that distracts from our goals of creating a school-wide and districtwide safe environment.  Additionally, staff are not to provide any materials to students that would impact a parents right to direct the upbringing, moral training, religious training, education, and care of their minor children.  
Recent legislation also requires that we notify parents whenever there is a change in a student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being and the school’s ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for the student. 
There is a concern that a student’s presence in a designated “safe space” could trigger a duty for Pasco County Schools staff to notify a parent of a potential change in their child’s well-being.  Given the difficulty of determining whether a student’s presence in a limited, designated “safe space” location is an indicator of a student’s emotional or mental well-being, our district will discontinue the utilization of such limited spaces so as to avoid a potential violation of the law. Under the new legislation, a parent may bring an action in court for “damages. . . attorney fees and court costs” stemming from a violation of these parental rights. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the district, teachers, and students that we comply with the recent legislation, and also communicate clearly that we support our students and that all our campuses are safe places.
In order to promote and maintain a tolerant and diverse educational environment, our students, staff, and parents must continue to comply with Pasco County Schools’ prohibition against discrimination, harassment, and bullying.  Please review SB Policies 5517 (Anti-Harassment), 5517.01 (Anti-Bullying), and 2260 (Non-Discrimination), or contact your school administrator for additional information regarding the enforcement of the above-listed policies.  Doing so will promote a safe and healthy learning environment where all of our students and staff, regardless of individual belief systems, can gather for the purposes of obtaining a world class education.
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