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Non-Discrimination Policy – 8015

September 23, 2010
In June, the Saline High School Spectrum Club requested the Board of Education Policy Committee review the Non-Discrimination Policy – 8015 and add the terms of “sexual orientation, gender identity and expression” to the list of protected classes.  The current policy states,

The District will not discriminate against any person based on sex, race, color, national origin, religion, height, weight, marital status, handicap, age, or disability.  The Board reaffirms its long-standing policy of compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination including, but not limited to, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d. et seq.; and 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq.; Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681, et seq.; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794; The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1210, et seq.; the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act, MCL §§ 37.1101, et seq.; and the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, MCL §§ 37.2101, et seq.

On Tuesday, September 21, I presented the Board Policy Committee with draft language that moves the legal references to the end of the policy and states,

No person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any educational program or activity available in any school on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, height, weight, marital status, or disability.

Click here to download a full version pdf or the draft version of the policy.
The committee was split 2-2 on the proposed language.  Based on this, the policy revision moves to the full board as a discussion item on the September 28th Board of Education agenda.  It will then appear on the October 12th Board of Education agenda as an action item.

Much of the discussion has been around the issue of bullying and harassment: we also have a policy related to that subject – policy 8260.  The regulations related to this policy includes the following language,

In order to provide a learning environment that is safe, conducive to the educational process, and free from unnecessary disruption, the Saline Area School District will not tolerate bullying, harassment, or hazing of students or staff by any of its students, employees, School Board members, vendors, contractors, or others doing business or associated with the school District. Bullying, harassment, or hazing of any kind is inappropriate and subject to this regulation. Of particular concern is bullying, harassment, or hazing based on a person’s sex, age, color, disability, height, weight, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or other personal characteristics.
Click here to download a pdf of Policy & Regulation 8260.

I encourage you to comment here or attend one of the upcoming Board of Education meetings to learn more and share your thoughts with the Board of Education.  The next meeting is Tuesday, September 28th at 6:30 pm in the Liberty School Media Center, 7265 Saline-Ann Arbor Rd.
10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2010 2:45 pm

    Scot, Thanks for the links and PDFs. I have shared this post on my blog, Ann Arbor Schools Musings:

  2. Michael McVey permalink
    September 24, 2010 10:22 pm

    Please note the spelling error in the Position Statement in 8260-R, specifically the word “bulling” in the sentence “Of particular concern is bulling, harassment . . .”

    I’m delighted to see electronic bullying addressed broadly and firmly rooted in the definitions.

  3. September 25, 2010 1:23 pm

    Michael – Thanks, I fixed the spelling error.

  4. Joel Kennedy permalink
    September 28, 2010 1:21 pm

    What a divisive issue. It is stuff like this that has everyone feed up with public education. We will keep voting down mileages until you stop wasting precious resources on nonsense like this issue.
    The policy already states that “Bullying, harassment, or hazing of any kind is inappropriate and subject to this regulation”. Sexual orientation is already included in the list of particular concern. Leave it at that.
    I find it ironic that the next item on your blog is, “The New Module for Planning” which is about “making trade-offs that move resources from less-effective to more-effective uses”. How can starting a battle over sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression be a move to more-effective use of educational resources?
    Enforcing the proposed language will become a tremendous resource drain as you begin to discipline and ban students, staff, employees, School Board members and groups who are accused of crossing this line of discrimination.
    And just as important, the mission statement says, “Saline Area Schools will equip all students with the knowledge, technological proficiency, and personal skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly complex society”. In case you don’t know, this issue is one of the things that is making our society increasingly complex. Adopting your proposed language will only leave people fearful of speaking their mind. Is this the personal skill you are trying to get our students to conform to?
    In the case of the freshman football team a few years ago, we already have in our school district an example of how one individual can ruin it for an entire group. The language you are wishing to add to the Non-Discrimination Policy isn’t about discrimination. It is to further empower individuals to bring down people and groups that they disagree with.
    In these troubled times for our school district, I’m very disappointed that the Superintendent finds this issue as a top priority. My guess is that majority of the people you serve feel the same way.

  5. September 28, 2010 1:42 pm

    The issue was brought to the Board of Education Policy Committee by a group of Saline High School students who expressed an interest in seeing the Board of Education add the draft language to the non-discrimination policy. The proposed language reflects that request and allows the Board of Education to now formally review the language and vote on the issue.

    As a point of information, I do not vote on new policies or policy changes that come before the Board of Education.

  6. September 28, 2010 2:54 pm

    Just as a point of information, today in the news there is another Michigan school district dealing with a gender identity issue that is not related to bullying. If they had a policy, I think the path would be clearer.

  7. Sabrina Gross permalink
    October 1, 2010 11:10 pm

    Thank you to the Saline students that recognized the necessary policy wording that addresses human behavior that is older than recorded history.
    Precision in non-discrimination policy language is simply good risk management for Saline taxpayers. Saline’s mission statement also supports this text amendment: “equip all students with the knowledge, technological proficiency, and personal skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly complex world.”
    Alan Mulally (Ford Motor CEO) knows this to be true: “The more we embrace our differences —diversity of thought, experience, perspective, race, gender, faith and more—the better we can deliver what the customers want and the more successful we will be.”
    Successful businesses understand that the goal is the best talent delivering the best product; the wording of a policy statement gives structure to expected respectful action.

  8. Joy permalink
    October 12, 2010 11:11 pm

    Despite the rather extensive public comment this evening at the Saline School Board meeting, the School Board did the responsible action and voted 4-3 against adopting the policy. Perhaps now the administration will be equally responsible and enforce the policies already in place. There were too many examples given this evening of harassment, intimidation, threats, bullying and not all of them were presented by the LGBT students–where is the safety for ALL students? Zero Tolerance and enforcement of the existing policies solves the concerns sought in the drafting of this policy. Thank you Saline School Board for exercising leadership–it is a pleasant surprise.

  9. Clare Cecil-Karb permalink
    October 13, 2010 11:00 pm

    To state that time/energy is being “wasted” on protecting children who are variant in their gender expression or who have a sexual orientation that makes them vulnerable to discrimination is simply veiled hatred.

    Children should not be bullied for any reason, but they should also not be DISCRIMINATED AGAINST for their identities. One might think that people who care about education would care about the meaning of words.

  10. November 13, 2010 8:42 pm

    The fact that we have policies in place specifying against whom we cannot discriminate seems a bit backwards. It suggests that there are those against whom we can discriminate. To the same point, an anti-bullying policy specifying the same or similar also leaves certain ‘classes’ open to loopholes. Can we not just simplify? If discrimination and bullying are not tolerated, why not simply state that? I propose a language change to both policies that simply states: “No member of the human species may be discriminated against or bullied.” Any other language you add or amend that includes a particular class or circumstance leaves you vulnerable to a repeat of this current debate, and suggests that discrimination or bullying of some sort are acceptable.

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