Jessica Franz, a newly seated school board member in Ohio, reached out to Advocates Protecting Children when the chair of the school board on which she now sits announced a new policy around transgender-identified students' bathroom use, with neither discussion nor vote. She told us this:
On Monday afternoon, January 10th, it was brought to my attention that the superintendent had sent out an email notifying the teachers of the district that the male student would be permitted to begin using the girls' bathrooms effective immediately and that it was "the law". Later that evening, I was sworn into the school board. I had received a copy of the agenda and I was prepared to address the items on the agenda.
During the new agenda items, the newly sworn in president read a statement from the superintendent and attorney that the school would be allowing the male student to use the girls' bathrooms. I was not provided with notice beforehand that this would be brought up under “new agenda” items. When several parents protested this decision during the public speaking portion, the board president answered that it was board policy, and we (the board) were following the law.
Now there are hundreds of parents in an uproar who would like to push back against this.
In fact, local parents and community members are outraged, including Angil Corey, whose grandchild has been pulled from school indefinitely:
This decision was made by this [transgender-identified] child and their family. The rest of us have made decisions for ours. ... The reason [the school district] submitted to this immediately was out of fear of the financial cost of fighting it. ... I hope more and more parents will stand up...
Given events in Loudoun County, Virginia, where a transgender-identified boy has just been sentenced for sexually assaulting two (possibly three) girls in school bathrooms, the argument that bathrooms must be open to people based on "gender identity," ostensibly for reasons of safety and equity, is both untrue and unacceptable.
Ms. Franz sent this press release following the school board meeting where she was blindsided by this policy announcement:
January 17, 2022 Jessica Franz, School Board Member Boys in the Girls' Restrooms Bethel Board of Education -- On January 10, during my first official school board meeting, the president of the board read a statement on a highly controversial issue from the superintendent and an attorney, announcing that a male student who identifies as a female would immediately being using the girls' restrooms.
During the public speaking portion of the meeting, several parents voiced their opposition. In response, the president announced that the decision was board policy and that the board was following the law. What was not said is that although a federal workplace case is often cited, it does not apply to school bathrooms, locker rooms, and other accommodations. In addition, the board did not vote on the proposed policy during a public meeting, as required by law. As such, the policy may well be invalid.
Accordingly, I have sought independent legal counsel regarding the legalities of enacting a policy absent a vote in an open meeting, attempting to implement a highly controversial issue in the absence of well-settled law, and the process for investigating whether professional licensure standards have been violated.
School boards and administrators nationwide are violating children's rights and protections by adopting policies which are neither legal nor ethical. Please sign this petition to help parents in Ohio demand that their school board and superintendent protect all students by reversing this unacceptable and dangerous policy:
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