State school board to vote on resolution addressing transgender policies

Committee OK’d amended resolution on Title IX, discrimination issues Monday; full board votes Tuesday

Ohio’s State Board of Education executive committee voted 5-2 Monday to send an amended version of a controversial resolution to the full state board for a vote. The full board is meeting Tuesday.

The resolution that is moving forward was proposed by board member Mike Toal of Sidney and opposes proposed regulations that would protect transgender students from discrimination under Title IX.

The resolution also supports a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education fighting the regulations and supports local control of schools but does not provide funding for school lunches that the federal government is threatening to pull for schools that don’t comply with the federal guidelines.

The executive committee received five proposed resolutions relating to Title IX changes, but not all are moving forward. The ACLU of Ohio, the Ohio Education Association teachers’ union, and Honesty for Ohio Education sent out a joint statement on Monday afternoon opposing the passage of Toal’s resolution.

The initial resolution, written by Brendan Shea, who represents Greene and Clark counties among others, was similar, but would have provided funding for school lunches for schools that discriminated against LGBTQ+ students — funding the federal government threatened to take away from schools who didn’t comply with the updated Title IX wording. It’s unclear how the State Board of Education would have accomplished that goal since the Ohio Legislature creates the state budget.

Shea’s resolution, proposed in September, is written specifically to oppose regulations protecting transgender students, though the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed guidelines involve all LGBTQ+ youth.

Critics of Shea’s resolution, including transgender youth and their families, along with doctors and attorneys, testified at the past two Board of Education meetings, arguing the resolution would allow public schools to discriminate against them and would force schools to out kids who didn’t feel comfortable telling their parents they were transgender or nonbinary. They also noted incorrect definitions in the resolution around sex and gender.

Proponents os She’s resolution, including some religious and conservative groups, argued the resolution allowed for local control and the ability of parents to track their kids.

Another one of the five proposed resolutions — written by Board President Charlotte McGuire, who represents Montgomery, Miami, Preble and Butler counties — would have put the burden of legislating transgender students back to the state legislature, after a previous one called on the board to oppose some proposed Title IX regulations from the U.S. Department of Education that withhold federal funding if local schools discriminate against LGBTQ+ students.

A fourth resolution, proposed by the board’s vice president, Martha Manchester of Lakeview, pushed for local control of schools, encouraged schools and parents to work together and considered the changes to Title IX currently unenforceable due to an ongoing lawsuit.

The final resolution, written by board member and Ohio State psychology professor Antoinette Miranda of Columbus, uses the guidelines from the Ohio High School Athletic Association to allow transgender students to participate in sports, says schools should use the names and pronouns that correspond with the students’ identity, and protects LGBTQ+ students from harassment.

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