Regulatory policy

Revised Title IX Student Policy Passes Without Mention of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation

In January, the Greenwich Board of Education voted along party lines on a policy codifying Title IX, which meant it did not pass.

Andreana Bellach of Shipman and Goodman, an attorney hired by the district, explained that the board is required by law to adopt a policy that complies with Title IX.

A heated discussion ensued about trans athletes competing in sports, with the four Democratic members voting in favor and the four Republicans voting against.

At the time, Republican Cody Kittle said, “I don’t think we’re doing any harm. We just let something like that happen and if later on we say, you know it costs too much lawyers or causes other problems, we can reevaluate it.

“I don’t care if it’s Connecticut law,” Republican Vice President Karen Kowalski said.

From there, the policy returned to the Policy Governance Committee which assessed revisions that might be compliant with Title IX requirements and acceptable to all BOE members.

The result was that the wording was changed to remove the statement “Discrimination or harassment based on sex includes discrimination or harassment based on gender identity or sexual orientation”.

The new wording added: “The Board agrees to abide by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Regulations as amended in the Final Rule promulgated thereunder.”

During the public hearing portion of Thursday’s meeting, strong opinions were expressed.

Beth MacGillivray, chair of the Greenwich Republican Town Committee, spoke as a parent.

“I denounce the potential travesty of allowing men to compete in women’s sports,” she said. “Firstly, I am not confused as to what is a woman or a woman, nor a man or a man. Science has taught me that there are two types of humans: women with XX chromosomes and men with XY chromosomes.

Speaking about competing on a championship ski team in college, MacGillivray said sexual preference was irrelevant to placement on a boys’ or girls’ team.

“Even one of the male ski racers – gay or gay – outpaced any girl or woman on the race course every time.”

“Schools should be based on science and facts, not political social justice and progressive garbage.”

–Kristen Nieminsky

RTC District 8 Chief Joe Solari, who also spoke as a parent, said he led a group called Concerned Greenwich Parents whose aim was to protect parental rights.

“Stop the state mandate to allow boys to play women’s sports,” Solari said.

“It’s crazy. It makes no sense. Nobody wants it,” he said. “Yet it is pushed by the state. All mandates use force to advance an agenda. Whether it’s boys playing women’s sports or all the acronyms, radical and progressive programs like CRT, SEL and DEI, state mandated and embedded in the curriculum that promote a political agenda, drive divisiveness, sexualize children and shift the focus from education for achievement to education for indoctrination, which hurts our children instead of helping them.

“Rise up and fight against Hartford,” Solari said. “Don’t comply with state mandates, but protect our children from them.”

Others spoke from a different point of view.

Elizabeth DeHaven, a mother who has worked in education for more than 25 years and runs an education research lab, described herself as “an honest person”, someone who takes action to end the bullying and discrimination.

“As I have watched the Title IX student policy discussion unfold over the past 6 months, I have often been speechless, angry, and unsure if I really heard what I did, and I’m generally ashamed that these conversations are happening at our schools’ board meetings.”

“Unfortunately, the message our students are receiving is that the adults who oversee this learning community and represent their parents, relatives and neighbors may decide, based on personal opinions regarding transgender girls’ participation in sports, that They will remove gender identity and sexual identity guidance clarifiers from the Title IX draft policy.

–Elizabeth De Haven

“If this was about transgender girls’ participation in sports, I’d be here to tell you about the fact that one of the cisgender girls in CT who sued for participation in athletics, beat the transgender girl named in the lawsuit two days later at the championship,” DeHaven said. “Or that about 10 percent of women have polycystic ovary syndrome which elevates their testosterone levels. But it’s not about transgender participation in sports.

“This discussion and removal of gender identity and sexual orientation does not support our students, and is not just about students who identify in this way,” DeHaven added.

Aimee Mueth urged the board to show empathy.

She said the new language of the policy sends the wrong message.

“Imagine what you would want for your child under these circumstances. Imagine how you would want to protect them from the shame and negative feelings internalized about them, in addition to the physical and emotional abuse they have experienced from their peers, or the additional trauma experienced by adults in the building without skills. to confront these kids and help them deal with bullying,” Mueth said.

“Think of others. Your role is to protect all students. Lead with empathy,” she added.

Kristen Nieminski said women’s sports were being destroyed, students were being taught that gender is fluid and progressive ideology was “poisoning the minds of our young people”.

“Schools should be based on science and facts, not political social justice and progressive garbage,” Nieminski said. “There are schools that push kids to cross-sex and have these conversations in secret with their parents…It will come into our school system if we don’t fight it now.”

Jan Barro, a parent at Greenwich Schools, referred to “behind-the-scenes board discussions” that resulted in the amended policy, which she said eliminated a salient clause.

“This deleted clause stated: ‘Discrimination or harassment based on sex includes discrimination or harassment based on gender identity or sexual orientation. “”

“This was hit. Deleted,” Barro said. “Somehow this concept is unacceptable to this council, but more importantly, just for the kids.”

Barro noted that in January, the board approved a Title IX policy for non-editorial staff.

“Fortunately, and as you already know, the Board of Education cannot undo Title IX protections with an amendment. Title IX protects students from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Barro said the deliberate failure to mention gender identity or sexual orientation was a missed opportunity to model openness and acceptance, and to affirm the civil rights of all students.

Barro was correct that the amended policy could not override Title IX protections.

About three hours into the meeting, the revised policy was presented and quickly approved.

Christina Downey of the Political Governance Committee said: “The policy provides protection for all students under Title IX. Even without this policy, under the law, students would have these protections.

“The law is already in place,” Downey said.

“It covers all of our students whether or not there’s a language in there,” Karen Hirsh said.

After only a few minutes, the board voted unanimously to approve the policy.

See also:

A tie vote along board party lines means student policy against sex and gender discrimination will not pass January 24, 2022

High school students honored at YWCA Greenwich’s 15th Stand Against Racism April 30, 2022