Our disappointment at what happened again tonight at the school board meeting cannot be overstated. Like other leaders around the country who do nothing about gun violence, it is deplorable that the adults here in our public schools again decided to delay action. In some ways we are not surprised as our efforts since 2012 have been met over and over again in these ways. Such behavior has happened at all levels: school board, superintendent’s office, legal, principals, counselors, everyone. Yet through these challenges, we have sustained a good faith stance and have come to forge what we believe are healthy honest relationships with some persons.
And so we want to acknowledge that the decisions by some persons on the school board tonight were made based on their understanding in the moment about what Nevada open meeting laws require. We are assured that this delay does not in any way mean that there will not be a future vote to implement policy. We are further understanding that this vote will happen very soon. And we at Gender Justice NV believe this.
However, there are others on the school board who pushed for this outcome for reasons having to do with their own personal political agenda and fear. Such motivations have no place on a school board. Those who take on this sacred trust must not shrink from the responsibilities in front of them. They must never put personal political calculations ahead of the interests of young persons in their care. Actions like these deserve universal condemnation, and actors like Linda Young, Chris Garvey and Kevin Child ought to be ashamed of themselves.
When we strategized in late Fall 2016 about how to address the needs of sex/gender diverse young persons via statute, our actions were informed by our experiences with persons like these. And the passage of SB225 in 2017 means that policy and training are now required in all Nevada school districts. Tonight’s school board meeting changes nothing about whether Clark County School District will have policy and training respecting the human rights of sex/gender diverse students. We at GJNV and our friends at the Nevada Department of Education among others who supported SB225 knew we needed such a strong law so that fearful and selfish persons could not continue by their obfuscation and inaction to suborn violence and suffering in schools.
Tonight was in no way OK. Yet those who acted selfishly and fearfully cannot stop what we have put in motion. We at GJNV know who we are. We know the value of diversity and truth telling. And we are together continuing to press for inclusive change in support of safe schools for all students. We are proud to walk together. And we are beyond grateful for your support.
Peace and Love
Jane Heenan, Gender Justice Nevada