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Betsy DeVos Turns School Gun Violence Commission Into a Tool to Punish Black Kids, Ignore Gun Violence

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In the weeks after the Parkland school mass shooting that left 17 people dead, the Trump administration was highly criticized for doing nothing to protect students. As the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student survivors quickly became student activists, and heroes to the left, the NRA and President Trump knew they were losing ground.

So President Trump tasked Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to create a commission to study the epidemic of gun violence in schools and come up with recommendations to make schools safer.

Secretary DeVos took her time to get the Commission up and running.

Her first step was to appoint members to the Commission: just four Trump Cabinet Secretaries, with no Democrats, experts, or students.

That was a red flag.

The next red flag came when DeVos testified before Congress, and was forced to admit that her commission on gun violence would not study the role of guns in school shootings.

It continued to get worse.

This summer DeVos announced a plan to allow schools to use federal funds to buy guns.

And now, according to The New York Times, Secretary DeVos will use her school safety commission as a tool to rescind or roll back Obama-era guidelines designed to protect Black and other minority students from racially-motivated punishments – while suggesting they are responsible for a rise in school violence.

“The Trump administration is planning to roll back Obama-era policies aimed at ensuring that minority children are not unfairly disciplined, arguing that the efforts have eased up on punishment and contributed to rising violence in the nation’s schools,” The Times reports.

“The decision culminates a nearly yearlong effort begun by the Trump administration after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.”

The Times notes that this was the plan almost from the start, when DeVos’ commission ignored the role of guns in school shootings, “and instead scrutinized the Obama administration’s school discipline policies, though none of the most high-profile school shootings were perpetrated by black students.”

The suspect in the Parkland massacre is white.

Documents from DeVos’ commission that were obtained by The Times “focus significantly on race and promote the idea that the [Obama-era led] federal crackdown on potentially discriminatory practices has made schools more dangerous.”

Federal data shows Black students are three times more likely to be punished, the Times notes.

Vox took a deeper dive. Among its findings, Black girls are suspended six times more than white girls, and Black boys are suspended three times more than white boys. That’s just for starters.

Rescinding guidelines on protecting Black and minority students from being punished more than their peers is yet another attack on minority students by Secretary DeVos.

One of DeVos’ first acts was to rescind Obama-era guidance protecting the civil rights of transgender students. She quickly told conservatives at a political conference the guidelines were a “huge overreach” by the Obama administration. Later, DeVos threw out complaints from transgender students, and later formalized policy to reject complaints filed by them.

She has rescinded guidance protecting students with disabilities and eliminated Dept. of Education documents on protecting them.

It’s not just minority students DeVos is targeting. Victims of sexual assault are on her list as well. DeVos has worked to expand protections for accused rapists and others accused of sexual misconduct, including assault and harassment.

RELATED STORIES:

First Betsy DeVos Came for Transgender Students, Then for the Disabled, Now She’s Targeting Minority Children

DeVos Delays Student Protections – Says Discrimination ‘Not Necessarily’ Cause of Racist Policies

‘Talked to Three People and Pet a Dog’: Parkland Student Survivors Say Betsy DeVos’ Visit Was ‘Just for Publicity’

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BIGOTRY

DeSantis Spokesperson Says LGBTQ Pride Lights on Jacksonville Bridge Will Be Back On – No Word on Others

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A spokesperson for Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis says the LGBTQ Pride Month display on Jacksonville’s Acosta Bridge will be back on Wednesday night. They were ordered removed after just one night by the state’s Dept. of Transportation, after dozens of other displays went unquestioned.

DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske told Florida Politics, “the lights will be on.”

Fenske said FDOT is “letting it go,” adding that other lighting displays “went up that were not on the approved list” previously, referring to already in place permits. However, the Pride display was the first to get blocked, a move that roiled locals.

The LGBTQ community remains targeted by DeSantis and his administration.

Permits for lighting other Florida bridges, including in Sarasota and St. Petersburg to celebrate Pride Month were denied, and there’s no indication they too will be allowed.

Ordering the Acosta Bridge LGBTQ celebration lights removed is “just the latest in a string of anti-LGBTQ actions” from DeSantis, Equality Florida Communications Manager Michael Womack tells NCRM.

Womack says the Florida Dept. of transportation “answers to the governor,” who he notes signed into law Florida’s first anti-LGBTQ bill in 24 years. He also says that in 2020 the permit to light the Acosta Bridge in LGBTQ rainbow colors for Pride Month was denied.

It is no coincidence that the Florida governor, a likely 2024 presidential hopeful, chose Jacksonville, a conservative Christian private school, and the first day of Pride Month to sign into law a bill banning transgender girls from playing in girls sports.

“Girls are gonna play girls’ sports,” DeSantis said June 1. “Boys are going to play boys’ sports.”

DeSantis chose June 2 to veto legislation that would have provided funds for counseling for survivors of the Pulse massacre and funding for LGBTQ homeless youth.

“Let’s be clear about what this is: Governor DeSantis has declared war on Florida’s LGBTQ community,” Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf, who now works for Equality Florida, told the Orlando Sentinel.

Tuesday the DOT ordered the Pride Light display removed, claiming there was no permit for the event. But the DOT never had a problem with countless other displays, including those recognizing Memorial Day, Autism acceptance and awareness, St. Patrick’s Day, Lupus, the first day of Spring, Christmas, child abuse awareness, and Easter – to name a few.

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BIGOTRY

DeSantis Admin Orders Jacksonville Bridge Stripped of LGBTQ Pride Month Rainbow Lights One Day After Turned On

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Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis or someone in his administration ordered the Acosta Bridge in Jacksonville to take down a special LGBTQ Pride Month rainbow light display, just one day after it had been turned on.

The Florida Times-Union reports the order came from the Florida Department of Transportation, which ordered the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to remove the display. The FDOT owns the bridge even though it is controlled by the JTA.

“This afternoon, the FDOT informed the JTA that our scheduled color scheme for the Acosta Bridge is out of compliance with our existing permit. The JTA will comply accordingly,” the Jacksonville Transportation Authority announced in a statement.

But Florida Times-Union metro columnist Nate Monroe says there’s “almost no way this didn’t come from the governor’s office. JTA has lit the bridge up with all sorts of colors on all sorts of occasions, with no pushback, until now.”

He also encouraged social media users to contact Gov. DeSantis’ Press Secretary, who is a fan of light shows, at least some light shows:

Requests for Pride Month displays on other bridges, including in Sarasota and St. Petersburg, were allegedly denied.

Florida’s first LGBTQ Latinx legislator expressed outrage:

Equality Florida’s Senior Political Director notes DeSantis has used LGBTQ Pride Month to attack LGBTQ people several times already:

An investigative reporter and Executive Producer at WTLV/WJXX weighs in with other events that were allowed (even more examples on her Twitter page):

UPDATE: DeSantis Spokesperson Says LGBTQ Pride Lights on Jacksonville Bridge Will Be Back On – No Word on Others

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BIGOTRY

‘I Live in Oakland’: Homophobic Hotel Guests Shamed Out of Pool After Profanity-Laced Freakout Over Two Women Kissing

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A Sacramento hotel was the scene of a homophobic incident when a group of people witnessed two women kissing and flipped out.

The Black Bay Area Instagram account showed the white women losing their minds while queer Black women were kissing. They insisted they weren’t racist, just homophobic, mentioning there were children.

One person in the pool kept chanting “SHAME” as the people left in disgrace. The chant lasted for at least three minutes non-stop. The first woman walked away but the second and third woman tried to argue with the people in the pool, filming them and shouting at them.

“Do you have kids? Good because you’d be a terrible father!” one woman said while holding her beverage. Another woman flipped off the camera.

Pride Month begins today, June 1st.

See the video below:

 

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