Honesty for Ohio Education condemns the State Board of Education for infusing targeted discrimination and violence against LGBTQ+ students into Ohio public schools
Children suffer as elected and appointed education leaders choose bigotry, fear, and hatred over anti-discrimination and federal Title IX law
December 13, 2022 | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBUS — Today, the State Board of Education voted 10-7 to adopt an amended version of Member Mike Toal’s Resolution to Oppose the Proposed Changes to Title IX and to Affirm Parental Rights and Local Control of Ohio K-12 Education. Members struck out the preamble, which defined sex as biological sex. Today’s resolution is a watered-down version of Member Brendan Shea’s original proposal rejecting Title IX federal anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ students, forcing the outing of LGBTQ+ students, banning students from facilities and sports teams, perpetuating falsehoods and misinformation about gender identities, and endangering the lives of LGBTQ+ children.
The resolution as passed continues to position transgender and gender diverse youth as predators of their peers, retaining language that refers to “biological women and girls” having to “compete on an unfair basis” if transgender or gender diverse athletes were to be included in school sports. No female athlete testified in favor of this resolution during four months of meetings.
Members Walt Davis, Diana Fessler, Sue Hackett, John Hagan, Kirsten Hill, Jenny Kilgore, Paul LaRue, Charlotte McGuire, Brendan Shea, and Mike Toal voted in favor of the resolution. Member Mark Lamoncha abstained. Member Brandon Kern was absent.
In response to the Board’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, we mourn the loss of Ohio children and families to safely express who they are and bring their joyful, authentic selves into their classrooms. We mourn the loss of schools and educators as trusted, safe spaces for children to turn to when grappling with complicated issues of identity and family dynamics. We mourn for the loss of humanity from those State Board of Education members who chose partisan politics over their duty to protect the rights and safety of all Ohio children.
Since September, thousands of Ohioans have spoken out against this proposal, demanding that Board members prioritize affirming, inclusive policies. Students, families, educators, legal and medical professionals, and education stakeholders provided more than 16 hours of in-person testimony and submitted 308 written testimonies. Despite this, Board members voted in favor of their personal ideological views and prioritized an extremist political agenda over the safety of Ohio children.
We find proponents of any resolution that endangers the lives of children and violates federal anti-discrimination protections to be unfit to serve in any educational capacity, and strongly recommend these individuals refrain from any professional role connected to children. Proponents of these hate-fueled proposals will be forever connected to Ohio’s avoidable statistics on school bullying, harassment, violence, and youth suicide.
We stand in solidarity with the few State Board members and countless students, families, educators, school leaders, advocates, and Ohioans who spoke out against this hate. The fight is not over. We stand ready to counter this malicious intent and help cultivate safe, inclusive, affirming learning spaces for all Ohio students.
Our coalition remains focused on multiple attacks targeting public education, LGBTQ+ rights, and democracy at the hands of a gerrymandered, supermajority legislature. Education, civil rights, and democracy are on fire in Ohio, and our children are getting burned.
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. The coalition represents more than 40 national, state, and local organizations, and hundreds of students, families, and educators across the state.