Honesty for Ohio Education condemns State Board of Education Executive Committee concerted attempt to pass resolution endorsing state-sponsored discrimination against LGBTQ+ students
Committee chose culture wars over kids with push toward possible vote
November 14, 2022 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBUS — Today, the State Board of Education Executive Committee considered four versions of a resolution, all of which are threats to the health, safety, and education of LGBTQ+ kids across Ohio. The Executive Committee voted 5-2 to send State Board Member Mike Toal’s second amended version of Member Brendan Shea’s resolution to the full State Board for a vote.
In response to the committee’s action, Cynthia Peeples, founding director of Honesty for Ohio Education, a nonpartisan statewide coalition representing nearly 50 organizational partners, released the following statement:
“Today certain members of the Executive Committee of the State Board of Education demonstrated that, in ‘protecting the rights of parents,’ they are protecting the right of school districts to discriminate against LGBTQ+ students.
“This morning, multiple executive committee members pointed out that the language in the Toal Amendment contradicts or circumvents existing procedures and processes already in use for years in Ohio’s schools, such as the guidance from the Ohio High School Athletic Association on how to include transgender students in school sports. Vice Chair Manchester noted specifically that schools have been ‘dealing with that for several years by working with the parents and the students, and they’re coming up with solutions. I really believe we need to trust the local schools.’
“While they claim to support local control, the conservative wing of the State Board is demonstrating government overreach themselves by dictating decisions that are already being managed by local school boards and local schools.
“Worse, the amended resolution still contains discriminatory language and factually false assertions about LGBTQ+ identities. This resolution views LGBTQ+ students as predators who want to steal safety and opportunity from their peers. LGBTQ+ students deserve exactly the rights, opportunities, and experiences as their peers. Their equality to their peers is not just a moral truth, but a right enshrined in federal law.
“Honesty for Ohio Education believes that dismissing racism and discrimination harms individuals and communities, and prevents pathways to reconciliation and healing. Students who today identify as gender diverse will face direct discrimination, and students who may just be starting to consider their identities and personal development will learn that their schools and educators are not a safe place for their exploration of self. This is the opposite of what we want our schools to be.
“There is no world in which any of our leaders should create and pass resolutions, bills, laws, guidelines, or rules that single out any identity or community for hate. This is damaging and downright shameful behavior from Ohio’s education leaders. We call on every member of the State Board of Education to vote down this amendment when it is placed in front of them.
Honesty for Ohio Education Coalition Partners
Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro said, “The anti-Title IX resolution passed by the Executive Committee of the State Board of Education continues to be a meaningless, politically driven stunt that intensifies an already dangerous atmosphere for many vulnerable students. Ohio’s public schools need a State Board of Education that is working hard to do everything they can to support the efforts of local school districts to meet the goals of the Each Child, Our Future strategic plan for education. Board member Toal’s amendment to Member Shea’s politically motivated resolution does nothing to serve this purpose, and instead continues to distract the important work of the board.”
Policy Strategist at ACLU of Ohio Sean McCann said, “The revised product still contains blatant misinformation about what it means to be transgender and gender-nonconforming. While this is marginally more palatable to the general public than Member Shea’s resolution, we know the anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment remains and the harm is still caused.”
Honesty for Ohio Education is a nonpartisan, statewide coalition that champions honest education, affirmation of identities, cultures, and experiences, the well-being of students and educators, and local control in education. We are united in the belief that every young person deserves an honest, high-quality education grounded in facts and diverse perspectives, regardless of their background, race or zip code. The coalition represents nearly 50 organizations and hundreds of students, families, and educators across the state.