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Statement Regarding State Board Member Brenden Shea’s Resolution - September 21, 2022

Statement on proposed Title IX amendments

September 21, 2022 -- Yesterday, Brenden Shea, a member of Ohio’s State Board of Education, introduced a “Resolution to Support Parents, Schools, and Districts in Rejecting Harmful, Coercive, and Burdensome Gender Identity Policies.” 

This resolution is in response to and opposing the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed revisions to Title IX Regulations

Recognizing the importance of protecting all students and ensuring safe learning environments, the Columbus City Schools Board of Education issued the following statement: 

“As leaders in Columbus City Schools, we stand united in opposition of State Board Member Brendan Shea’s hateful resolution, which promotes lawlessness and blatant discrimination.

Over the last 50 years, Title IX has been instrumental in paving the way for access to equal opportunity for girls and women within our schools, and in combating sexual discrimination and violence within educational spaces. The U.S. Department of Education’s proposed provisions, while still in the rulemaking process, aim to strengthen and expand current protections to ensure all students are able to learn in an educational environment free from sex discrimination and sexual violence. 

Title IX and the proposed revisions align with the core values we cherish in Columbus and reinforce the groundwork we have laid to combat all forms of discrimination in our community. In contrast, the resolution set forth by State Board Member Shea undermines the steps taken to ensure all students are afforded the invaluable protections under Title IX and advocates for the exact discrimination that Title IX was developed to protect against. It advocates state-sponsored discrimination and does not reflect the scientific realities regarding gender and sexual orientation.

In Columbus City Schools, we celebrate our diversity and use equity as a tool to reach equality – giving each child what they need and deserve to succeed. We strive to create environments in which everyone can learn, work, and live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. 

Last year, we introduced our Portrait of a Graduate, a collective vision that articulates our community’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations for every CCS student. One of the six attributes we envision for students to embody is ‘Global Empathy’ – to value and engage diverse cultures and unique perspectives through mutual respect and open dialogue while taking action to make the world more equitable and inclusive. It is an attribute we hold in high regard.

We believe that creating the leaders of tomorrow requires an understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and that all students must feel safe, welcome, and respected.

Columbus City Schools has been at the forefront of ensuring equal rights and defending against discrimination for all students staff and families, including those who are part of our city’s LGBTQIA+ community. Our district was an early adopter of protections in the workplace and at school on sexual orientation and gender identity, and a leader in developing professional development training for administrators, teachers, and staff designed to create and reinforce environments of affirmation and belonging.

As a public school district, it is our responsibility to provide educational learning environments that are open, supportive, culturally responsive, and psychologically safe for all students to learn. 

We will continue to fight for our students and against this type of harmful resolution. We ask all other educational institutions, government bodies, students, families, non-profits, businesses, and the community to stand with us and speak out against State Board Member Brendan Shea’s Resolution, which aims to undermine our ability to embrace and support all students fully.”