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A lawsuit over LGBTQ+ flags in a classroom, the race for District 27, Fantasy Fest returns

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A lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County over LGBTQ+ flags in a school classroom could be the first of many linked to Florida's recent parental rights laws.

While the “Don’t Say Gay” bill – the Parental Rights in Education law – has been at the center of most controversy, the case quotes the Parental Bill of Rights, passed in 2021 by Florida lawmakers.

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Frank Deliu, a Wellington parent, sued after his son approached him about a computer science teacher flying two LGBTQ+ pride flags in his classroom, according to the Palm Beach Post. Deliu, who follows Orthodox Christian beliefs, told the publication they were “offensive” and a form of “brainwashing”.

Reporter Katherine Kokal, who covered the case for the Palm Beach Post this week, told the South Florida Roundup that local attorneys believe the lawsuit could embolden parents in what already is a litigious environment.

"[Parents have] always sued schools when they don't like something that's going on, whether it be curriculum in the classroom, outside of the classroom, in sports," she said. "But under these new parental rights laws, they are kind of given a bigger platform to do this."

The Parental Bill of Rights law opened the door for parents to sue school districts and officials when they allege that schools infringe on quote "fundamental rights of a parent to direct the upbringing" of their children.

Some in the legal community say the lawsuit will set a precedent for how parents deal with issues they see in their children's school districts.

Florida statutes require that every public school classroom have an American flag and that each school fly a state flag. "There is nothing in district policy in Palm Beach County nor a state statute that says these are the only flags that can be flown in classrooms," Kokal said.

She explained that a judge would likely consider this lawsuit under the context of both laws.

"In our parental rights of education law, a parent or a student or anyone involved in the public school system can bring an action against the school district for a declaratory judgment that they are violating these laws," she added.

The district has yet to comment on the case, but a hearing is scheduled for Tuesday. So that would be our first opportunity to kind of get a sense from the school's attorney [on] how this is going to go,” Kokal said.

Deliu filed the lawsuit on October 12.

On the South Florida Roundup, we also spoke to Senator Annette Taddeo about her run for congress in District 27 and to WLRN’s new Florida Keys reporter Gwen Filosa about Fantasy Fest returning in full for the first time since 2019.

Listen to the full episode above.

Helen Acevedo is a grad student at Florida International University studying Spanish-language journalism, a bilingual program focused on telling the stories of diverse communities.