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Local school district adds gender identity protections, angry parents voice frustrations

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COLUMBUS, Ind. - Angry parents aired their frustrations with Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation board members as they voted on a “gender identity” policy change Monday night.

Some parents and members of the crowd were yelling at board members during parts of the meeting.

At issue was the addition of the phrase “gender identity” to the district’s nondiscrimination policy as a protected class.

Superintendent John Quick said “transgender identity” was added to the policy back in 2013, and the district has since then been accommodating to students who may be transgender, working with them and their families to make them feel comfortable at school.

The addition of “gender identity” to the wording of those policies further ensures the district cannot question the gender a student chooses to identify with when enrolling, or when a prospective employee applies for a job.

Quick said the policy change was brought about over talks with educational policy groups, and the district felt “gender identity” was a more current term to use.

“It’s an emotional issue. We understand there are other perspectives on this, and we honor those perspectives, but for my benefit, I look at all the children. And while this may be a minority of children, it’s certainly awfully important,” said Superintendent John Quick.

The board listened to comments both for and against for more than an hour before voting, at times having to call for order as members of the crowd raised their voice at board members.

“This whole meeting, this whole thing is ridiculous, and we all know it. We've asked, and we've prayed that you take a few minutes to think that you want boys to go in the girls bathroom, and you want girls to go in the boys bathroom,” said John Perkins, speaking out against the policy.

Columbus is normally behind the times. The east coast does their own thing. The west coast does as well. I think we like our little hometown, we want you guys to remember we dont’t have to be like everybody else. It’s okay to be different, said Lisa Deaton, speaking out against the policy.

“This is not something that's political for them. This is about our children, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your thought and study on this issue,” said Sandra Bolte, in a comment addressed to the board.

In the end the board approved the policy change in a unanimous vote.

Some in the crowd said they’d remember come election time.

 

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