Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made his beliefs about teaching young children about sexual orientation and gender identity very clear. Passing a law that banned the subject from being taught to some grades, the LGBTQ community deemed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. But although it has been some time since it was passed, it appears a 14-year-old girl found herself expelled from a Florida school after her mother spoke out against a gender identity survey given to her daughter. And to make it worse, not only did the school expel the student, they went after her father as well. 

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Once attending Cypress Creek High School, the daughter of Rebecca Yuengling was transferred to Sunlake High School after a complaint was filed about the survey. According to the lawsuit filed on August 5th, both Rebecca and Richard Yuengling are currently suing the Pasco County school board and sheriff’s office after their daughter was expelled without having a chance to appeal. 

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The survey in question asked the students their preferred pronouns and if the teachers had permission to use the same pronouns with other teachers and caregivers. While the lawsuit is ongoing, on August 8th, Judge Mary Scriven ruled that the student could return to Cypress Creek High School due to the fact that she was not given due process.

Attorney Jonathan O’Brien stated, “At the hearing, the decision was made to allow the kid to go back to school because there was no due process. The superintendent committed two constitutional violations. One, he retaliated against the mother by going after the kid and removing her from their school. That’s free speech retaliation. Then number two, when the father asked for an appeal, the superintendent incorrectly and illegally said my decision is, quote, final and non-appealable, which is in our papers and it’s exhibited. That also turned out to be false. So the kid is back in school today.”  

Giving her side of the story, Rebecca Yuengling explained how the expulsion caused her daughter emotional distress as she transferred to a new school. “She said to me that she felt like she got taken from her home and her family and moved to a strange place. She knew the one over there. It’s not like the family moves or you change houses and you expect to go to a new school. She didn’t have any of that warning. It was just a letter. I’m sure she’ll say was the roughest patch of her life. For me as her mother, it was definitely the most worried I’ve ever been.”

Giving details on how Richard Yuengling was demoted while working at the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, O’Brien said, “Not only did the school district go after the kids, they went after the father. We need to get to the bottom of the extent to which the sheriff’s office colluded with the school district to take out the father essentially who was a sheriff’s deputy.”