Pasco County school leaders will remove 'safe space' stickers from campuses to comply with Florida law

Despite a lot of frustration and pushback from parents, students, and staff, Pasco County school officials are removing their "safe space" stickers across the district. It’s a move that many are concerned will be harmful to the LGBTQ community, but Superintendent Kurt Browning said his hands are tied.

In an email sent out to the district earlier this month, Superintendent Browning informed parents, students, and staff that the stickers would be removed from all schools in the district in an effort to stay in line with Florida's new "Parental Rights in Education Law," which bans lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade as well as material that is not deemed age-appropriate.

Image shows 'Safe Space' sticker

Image shows 'Safe Space' sticker

Browning stated in his email that he wants to remove any potential confusion that could come from something labeled as a safe space, such as a student believing that a conversation in a designated space would not be disclosed to their parent, a move that could violate the law. 

The superintendent went on to say that it is also difficult to determine whether a student’s presence in a safe space is an indicator of their mental or emotional well-being, something the district is also now required to monitor and report to parents. To remove any potential confusion or misinterpretation, Browning said the district would be removing the stickers completely.

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There are people who are not on board with the changes. They showed up at Monday night’s school board meeting to make their voices heard, begging the school board and superintendent to change their minds.

The superintendent said he understood that the changes go against what many of the district’s teachers stood for, but he said the law is the law. 

There has been a petition created and signed by a few hundred parents and staff members, but Superintendent Browning said he didn’t want to create legal issues for the district, and the decision is out of his hands.