Palm Beach County School Board revises equity statement after state notice

Florida Department of Education says equity statement, other district policies may need updating to comply with state law
The Palm Beach County School Board meets on Dec. 7, 2022.jpg
Posted at 7:56 AM, Dec 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-08 08:00:47-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The Palm Beach County School Board on Wednesday made changes to its equity statement, which was at the center of community controversy when it first passed in 2021.

The Florida Department of Education on Nov. 18 sent a letter to the school district, telling leaders they may need to update the statement, along with other district policies, to comply with new Florida laws.

In the letter, Senior Chancellor Jacob Oliva requested a response from the School District of Palm Beach County by the end of the week.

Following nearly an hour of discussion Wednesday night, school board members voted unanimously to adopt this revised equity statement:

"The School District of Palm Beach County is committed to creating safe, equitable, and inclusive learning environments that ensure students have what they need to be successful in life.

The School District of Palm Beach County will provide each student — regardless of race, ethnicity, economic status, disability, national origin, religious affiliation, gender identity, or sexual orientation — access to any and all opportunities, resources, and support they need to develop agency, voice, and achieve their dreams.

The School District of Palm Beach County will embrace, celebrate, and honor our students, families, staff, and community members and their unique cultural histories while ensuring each student achieves personal, academic, and sustainable success."

"Even though we have to make some changes today, my priority and the staff's priority remains on the work," board member Alexandria Ayala told WPTV before Wednesday's discussion. "How are we creating those environments that ensure that every child in our system feels that support and feels included and feels in a good environment to have their best achievable?"

In Oliva's letter, the Palm Beach County School Board was also asked to adjust language in the school district's equity policy, as well as the LGBTQ+ Critical Support Guide on its website.