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Mentor Public Schools vote 3 to 2 not to oppose federal Title IX protections for LGBTQ students

Posted at 6:05 PM, Mar 14, 2023

MENTOR, Ohio — The Mentor Board of Education voted three to two not to support a resolution that would have opposed federal Title IX guidelines that were designed to protect LGBTQ students, and follow an Ohio Board of Education resolution.

Mentor School Board members voting against supporting the Resolution to Oppose the Proposed Changes to Title IX and to Affirm Parental Rights and Local Control of Ohio K-12 Education, said they were concerned about the loss of rights and protections for more than two dozen transgender students in the district.

They also shared concerns over the potential loss of more than $5 million in federal funding if the district decided not to follow guidelines the U.S. Department of Education said would better protect LGBTQ students.

Ann Anderson, a Mentor parent of a transgender daughter who is a Mentor student, made an emotional appeal to the board of education to vote against the proposal and said federal Title IX protections must be maintained.

“She then comes to me every day crying in the bathroom, crying on the phone, saying mom, mom please pick me up, mom I don’t want to be here anymore," Anderson said. “I know that seems like politics to everybody else, it’s not, it’s my daughter’s life, she’s 13, she deserves some respect.”

But nearly two dozen Mentor residents, and parents who have students in the district, who were in favor of the failed resolution shared their concerns on how they believe federal Title IX guidelines are jeopardizing female sports in Ohio, and are stripping parental rights by preventing parents from being directly informed if their high school student tells a teacher they would like to be called by any other pronoun along with their education.

Mentor resident Jessica P. also shared concerns about federal Title IX guidelines allowing students to use school bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity have allegedly caused abuses of that right at Mentor High School, jeopardizing the safety of female students.
 
“The following week another picture was circulated of a different boy using the girl's bathroom at Mentor High, this is not safe," Jessica P. said.

During a board meeting last month, another parent said:

“Allowing biological boys to be in the girls' locker room and bathrooms violates their privacy and creates an unsafe environment for both parties."

Parents would also like to be informed if their child tells a teacher they want to go by a different pronoun. They would also like to know what they are learning.

“This is a violation of parental rights,” a parent said. “From a board members post supporting sex education to pride flags in our classrooms and pride alley signs on the doors.”

Mentor Schools Superintendant Craig Heath said during last month’s meeting that currently if a child in K-8 asked to go by a different pronoun, that’s a conversation between the principal and counselor, and parents are informed.

If the student is in ninth through 12th grade, they will work with the counselor to come up with a plan to communicate with parents.

LGBTQ activist Eliana Turan says "outing" any child before they are ready could be detrimental.

“This impact on the students is beyond understanding because if you're taking someone's opportunities away, you're taking their safe spaces away, you're taking their dignity and humanity away,” Turan said, adding that opposing the expansion is directly targeting LGBTQ students.

“I think that when we see things like this, it really makes LGBTQ people everywhere, especially trans people, and especially the trans youth, feel like second-class citizens and it's just very hurtful,” Turan said.

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