Reverse Repeal of Illinois School District’s Transgender-Inclusive Policy

Guillaume Paumier

Target: East Aurora School District’s Assistant Superintendent of Education, Christine Erd

Goal: To get Illinois school board to reverse the ruling against transgender-affirming policy

An Illinois city school board recently approved a policy that would have given transgender students the right to be called by the names and gender pronouns that they identify with, and would have allowed them to use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities. Almost immediately after the policy went into effect, anti-gay organizations started contacting the school board to attack the policy, successfully convincing the board to rescind the decision. Anti-gay hate groups should not be allowed to dictate policies that affect the rights of students.

The most prominent organization that criticized the policy is the Illinois Family Institute, an anti-gay Christian group known for loudly opposing anti-discrimination and anti-bullying laws. The organization’s letter to the school board attacks transgender students, accusing them of being confused, perverse, and having mental and moral disorders. The letter then accuses the school board of accommodating the students’ desires instead of their needs.

The president of the school board responded by stating that she and other members of the board were under the impression that they were required by the state’s board of education to approve the policy. The board then showed its support for the anti-LGBT letters by meeting once again to repeal the ruling, instead of supporting equality and prioritizing the mental health and safety of the district’s students.

The Illinois school district’s recently-approved policy protecting transgender students was met with positive feedback from many parents and residents, who applauded the school board’s support for equality and LGBT rights. The board, however, responded instead to the negative feedback from anti-gay organizations by reconvening to overturn the ruling. The policy would have reduced bullying and discrimination, and it should have been kept in place in defense of transgender students’ rights.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Christine Erd,

The policy protecting the rights of transgender students that you introduced was recently approved by the East Aurora School Board, but shortly after, the board voted to repeal the policy in response to hateful letters demanding that it be reconsidered.

The school board has chosen to side with hate groups instead of standing up for equality in the fight for LGBT rights. The school board should be ensuring a safe environment for the district’s students, not giving in to anti-gay organizations.

The board’s decision to overturn the ruling is a sign of disrespect for the students whose lives your policy would have greatly enhanced. Please make sure the school board puts the health and safety of its students first by standing up to the bigoted organizations and reversing the discriminatory decision.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Guillaume Paumier via Flickr

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