COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio Board of Education is heading toward a vote on a resolution that could reject proposed federal protections for LGBTQ+ students after listening to hours of testimony on Monday.
Opponents said the resolution is harmful to LGBTQ+ youth across central Ohio. Board member Brendon Shea wrote the resolution in September after changes were proposed in June to Title IX, a federal program protecting people from discrimination based on sex. The changes included protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Shea’s resolution has been a hot topic for months, and Ohioans still don’t know if the board will approve or vote down what could impact students across Ohio.
“It is a message that says some of our students don’t even exist,” said Beryl Brown Piccolantonio, school board president of Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools.
The resolution rejects any federal changes to Title IX. Some of the proposed changes include requiring schools to respond promptly to all complaints of sex discrimination as well as protect LGBTQ+ from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.
Piccolantonio said board members across the state are signing a letter in opposition to the resolution.
“The fact that there are school board members from all over the state — that were also willing to speak up I think that says a lot about where we are right now in the state Ohio,” said Piccolantonio.
The board held public participation today, with many speaking in opposition of the resolution.
“Separate bathrooms and showers already exist — it was testified earlier if having to go to the bathroom in their own same sex showers is a problem for .8% daily then absolutely it effects 99.2% if this changed,” said Linda Kelly.
Piccolantonio said the board’s focus is not correct.
“They have spent so many months and so many hours at this point — just debating this resolution and not focusing on the kinds of things they need to be doing for kids,” said Piccolantonio.
The resolution is on the state board’s voting agenda for tomorrow.