One day after more than 100 black and Hispanic pastors gathered at the State Capitol in support of the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program, Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, has issued a statement urging program donors not to withhold funding despite recent attacks alleging the program discriminates against LGBTQ students.
Jones acknowledged that while every school, whether public or private, must uphold a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to discrimination, he said that continued erosion of corporate support to the program that serves predominantly low-income and minority families would cause more harm than good.
“Ripping scholarship funding out from underneath thousands of economically vulnerable students whose only chance at a safe environment and solid education is not the answer,” Jones said. “While we come together to create policies to ensure these conditions, I urge companies not to end their support for students in the short term.”
At issue are efforts by two Florida lawmakers to persuade corporate donors to end their contributions to the scholarship program that serves more than 100,000 students. Like Shevrin, speakers at Tuesday’s event, including Rep. James Bush, D-Miami, said that loss of donor support to the program could have a devastating effect on education opportunities for the state’s most vulnerable students.
Jones, the second ranking member of the Democratic Caucus in the Florida House, is a strong advocate of LGBTQ rights. He has actively campaigned for protection of the LGBTQ community from discrimination in housing and employment.