Gol' durn, Florida is always full of surprises. In reporting a controversial school board meeting over LGBT rules, USA Today -- and its state affiliate Florida Today -- stuck pretty much to basic reporting, as opposed to editorial writing.
Even better, the national report is a nearly word-for-word re-post of the original Florida Today story, rather than some Beltway gloss. LGBT matters can get pretty heated, and so can school board meetings. So when they collide, it ain't always easy just to report. These stories do have a flaw or two, but they generally show a satisfying fairness and respect for all sides. We'll look at the flaws in a bit, but the top alone rates a hat tip:
MELBOURNE, Fla. -- Big crowds came out for a Tuesday evening meeting about a proposed non-discrimination and equal employment policy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Brevard Public Schools.
After more than 90 LGBT policy opponents spoke to the school board, the board voted to kill the proposed policy, and said it would hold a public workshop on LGBT issues down the road.
Nearly 100 people signed up to speak at the meeting, and most of those who spoke were in opposition to the LGBT policy.
Friar Demetri Tsigas of Melbourne, a Greek Orthodox priest, said that the opposition of people of faith like himself was something school board members should heed. "You can see the spirit of the town here," Tsigas said. "This is not San Francisco, folks. This is Brevard County."
Friar? That's off the mark. However, that statement is something of a surprise, starting the quotes with a Greek Orthodox priest, rather than the typical "fundamentalist" who is then held up to scorn.
It is crucial to note the ratio of people attempting to speak in opposition to the policy, as opposed to those who defended it. This was a very tense, charged meeting.