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Fed Injunction For Florida Trans Teacher

By Charlotte Robinson, April 11, 2024

A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting Florida education officials & the Hillsborough County School Board from taking any steps to enforce Florida Statute against plaintiff Katie Wood a transgender high school teacher. The Florida Statute prohibits employees & contractors of Florida’s public K–12 schools from providing a student with titles or pronouns that “do not correspond” to the employee’s or contractor’s sex assigned at birth. A teacher who violates subsection 3 could lose their state license to teach. Wood stated, “I am hopeful that this ruling will encourage those who feel powerless to stand up for themselves. Where there is pain, there is power & anything can happen when good people stand up together.” Chief Judge Mark E. Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida held that Ms. Wood is substantially likely to succeed on the merits of her claim that subsection 3 violates her free speech right under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Chief Judge Walker wrote, “Once again, the state of Florida has a First Amendment problem. The question before this Court is whether the First Amendment permits the state to dictate, without limitation, how public-school teachers refer to themselves when communicating to students. The answer is a thunderous ‘no.’” The plaintiffs in Wood et al. v. Florida Department of Education et al. are represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Southern Legal Counsel, & Altshuler Berzon, LLP who concluded, “Katie Wood led by example, as the court agreed that her dedication to her students takes precedence. We are pleased that Ms. Wood can go on educating students in a safe space, where the only thing that matters is her commitment to the students.” 

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