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'This is very biased, this is very harmful': TPS board looks at controversial Title IX bill

The Ohio Board of Education's resolution defines gender as being born male or female, and not something that can be assigned or changed.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Ohio's Board of Education is considering changes some have said would cause discrimination in schools, and now, more people are coming out against a proposal from the Ohio Board of Education that defines gender as being born male or female, and not something that can be assigned or changed. 

"This is very biased, this is very harmful," Toledo Public Schools Board member Sheena Barnes said.

Some TPS board members have also called the proposal "anti-child," claiming that it does nothing to help kids in school and it could even hurt them; not just in the classroom, but mentally, socially and emotionally.

Leaders with Equality Toledo also said that definition fails the LGBTQ community.

"It's basically claiming to protect the well-being of families, but it's not looking at the well-being of our LGBT youth families. The bill is really putting teeth and removing federal funding if schools allow, for example, non-binary bathrooms," Equality Toledo's Joseph Wood said.

Equality Toledo also said the OBE's proposal directly opposes new Title IX changes from the federal government, which protect members of the LGBTQ community from being discriminated against.

"This is coming from almost a terror or a spiritual way to use something like that against a student," Barnes said. "This is a kid at the end of the day."

During Tuesday's board meeting for TPS, board member Christine Varwig questioned how many times the state's education leaders are going to bring up proposals that districts are going to advocate against.

Equality Toledo representatives said if the TPS board does not put out a statement against the state's bill, it could be detrimental to kids.

"Kids are kids and they are going to say things to their teachers and counselors," Wood said. "This resolution would make it obligatory for the council and teacher to out the child to their parents."

TPS board members said speaking against this resolution is them standing up and supporting families in their district.

"This is very important. It's a part of social and emotional learning and wants to make sure they are fully themselves," Barnes said. "And that can be in different aspects, whether it's race religion, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We want our children to know that we love them and see them and will support them for who they are."

Other major school districts in the state, like Columbus Public Schools, have opposition to the proposal. But, there is no official word on if or when TPS would do anything similar.

TPS board members said they will have to talk with their committees and the superintendent before they move forward.

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