Blair Oaks School Board delays discussion of transgender student policy

The issue that resulted in a larger-than-usual crowd for the Blair Oaks School Board meeting on Tuesday night remains unresolved.

The agenda for the meeting said the board would discuss Policy 2115, a policy on transgender students that has been debated for months in the community. However, the council ended up taking no action on the policy, again choosing to delay to allow all council members to participate in the discussion.

At the start of the meeting, Vice Chair Nicki Russell, who was chairing in the absence of Chair Jason Paulsmeyer, read a statement explaining that the board is limiting public comments to those who have registered to speak on the order. of the day.

At the end of this statement, resident Chris Forck stood up and asked the board what was in their ethics policy. The council continued the meeting without greeting him.

Discussion of Policy 2115 was initially postponed to August because several Board members expected to be absent in July. Only Paulsmeyer was absent on Tuesday.

When it came time to revisit the policy, Russell said the council heard about related legal matters from the district attorney during a closed session and decided to delay discussing the policy so that all members can be present. Russell did not say when the board might review the policy.

Board member Logan Gratz also read a statement that Blair Oaks was not alone in his politics. Several districts in the region have similar or identical policies, which originate from a model language that allows the insurer to limit the district’s potential liability in a policy lawsuit. Gratz said the policy is to protect district taxpayer dollars and to comply with the law.

Throughout his statement, members of the public chimed in, including questions such as “What about the kids?”

The board then continued the meeting.

During the reports section of the meeting, building leaders recapped the staff training and enrollments of new and returning students that took place this week. Blair Oaks college principal Melinda Aholt has announced that the college will have a no-phone policy this year. Students can have them but cannot use them during the day. She said it was meant to limit distraction and she hadn’t heard any negative comments so far.

Construction and grounds manager Randy Prenger said the concrete and mulch for the preschool playground has been completed, but fencing still needs to be added. The classrooms are being finished. He is always looking for candidates for guard positions.

The council also renewed its tax rate without change and passed the budget for fiscal year 2023.

The board updated its student drug testing policy to reflect what the district has done recently. The policy that appears on the website was last updated in 1999, which does not reflect current drug testing practices. The policy allows the district to randomly test 10% of students who participate in activities once a month.

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