COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio Board of Education’s executive committee voted in favor Monday to move forward a resolution that could reject proposed federal protections for LGBTQ+ students.
The committee voted 5-2 to move forward with an amendment to a resolution that opponents say could harm LGBTQ+ youth in the state. With the executive committee’s vote, the resolution will be debated on and possibly voted on by the full Ohio Board of Education on Tuesday.
Board member Brendon Shea introduced the resolution 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.
The amended resolution, introduced at Monday’s meeting by board member at large Mike Toal, directs Ohio’s state superintended to send a letter to all local school districts within 21 days telling them that the changes to Title IX are not final and they should not feel obligated to follow them.
“People are going to resolve this,” Toal said. “It doesn’t have to be pushed from the top if you allow it to come up from the bottom through local control. We are going to get solutions that are in total satisfactory for the citizens of Ohio.”
Board members voted to send the resolution to the executive committee after hours of public testimony during an Oct. 12 meeting. Shea, of London, introduced the resolution in September, titled the “Resolution to support parents, schools, and districts in rejecting harmful, coercive, and burdensome gender identity policies and to protect federal funding subject to Title IX.”
The amendment to the resolution, written by board member Mike Toal, is titled “Resolution to oppose the proposed changed to Title IX and to affirm parental rights and local control of Ohio K-12 education” and includes multiple changes from Shea’s original resolution.
Toal’s amendment removed a line commanding Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction to inform each public school district and institution that the new Title IX guidance is “non-binding and unenforceable.”
A lawsuit filed by Ohio Attorney General David Yost and 21 other attorneys general claims the proposed policies are illegal. In July, a federal judge in Tennessee ruled in their favor, temporarily blocking parts of the new Title IX protections. A final ruling is still pending.