For the second time in less than a month, the Clark County School District Board of School Trustees has delayed a decision on recommendations for a policy to safeguard and protect Clark County’s Gender Diverse Students.
As a member of the committee that made the recommendations for consideration, time after time I witnessed requests to delay these recommendations by other members of the committee. Despite months of discussion and multiple meetings, those who oppose any policy to protect these vulnerable students will say anything to get their way. The latest example of their tactics was on full display at the CCSD Board meeting on February 22, where opponents made groundless threats of open meeting law violations with the district attorney for the board playing along.
The stunt opponents pulled at the CCSD meeting Thursday was a delay tactic, and the decision to delay the vote on these recommendations favored the opposition—again.
While holding public meetings in spaces that anticipate extraordinary attendance is a prudent idea, open meeting law in Nevada does not require meeting facilities to accommodate every individual that might attend, and the attorney general’s Open Meeting Law Manual addresses this issue (Nevada Open Meeting Law Manual § 7.02). What is required is that every accommodation must be made to give equal time to opponents and proponents, which CCSD provided.
Public bodies must not favor one side or the other. The stunt opponents pulled at the CCSD meeting Thursday was a delay tactic, and the decision to delay the vote on these recommendations favored the opposition—again.
Beginning in September, CCSD provided numerous opportunities to hear from the public through five public meetings held on various days at various times and locations, while also taking responses through a survey and public participation on the Gender Diverse Working Group. CCSD has gone to great lengths to include the public in the process of crafting recommendations for trustee consideration on this issue.
Opposition voices state various reasons for opposing the recommendations developed by the Gender Diverse Working Group, none of which are based on any facts or data. Their personal opinions and biases are rooted in the fears of people they do not know and do not seek to understand. Their worldview does not allow for the diversity of genders or sexual orientations; they see human gender and sexuality in binary, black or white, right or wrong. Thankfully, science, facts, and thousands of years of human experience say otherwise and public policy is finally beginning to recognize this and treat gender diverse people equally.
Senate Bill 225, from the 2017 session of the Nevada Legislature, requires the state Department of Education to issue regulations to school districts to protect gender diverse students. With the creation of the Gender Diverse Working Group, CCSD should be commended for seeking to protect vulnerable minority students with policy recommendations shaped by public participation. The public opponents and proponents have made their voices known on these recommendations, now the trustees should make theirs known.