After concerns were raised during a Feb. 22 Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Board of Education meeting regarding an anti-transgender proclamation issued by Monument Academy, district leadership issued a statement condemning the proclamation.
“Lewis-Palmer School District 38 is aware of the recent proclamation passed by the Monument Academy Board of Directors,” reads the statement sent by D38 Director of Communication, Mark Belcher. “Statements in this proclamation do not reflect the position or policy of Lewis-Palmer School District 38.
“Lewis-Palmer School District 38 does employ various policies, consistent with state and federal law, including Policy AC Nondiscrimination/Equal Opportunity, and Policy JB Equal Educational Opportunity, with the goal of providing a safe and welcoming environment to all. In accordance with these policies, D38 is of the position that every student attending a school within D38 will be treated with dignity and respect and will have equal educational opportunities through programs offered in the school district regardless of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services.
“Lewis-Palmer School District 38 appreciates our engaged community, and we welcome public feedback at all times. Any individuals in our community who have questions or wish to speak about this proclamation are also encouraged to reach out to Monument Academy or its Board of Directors.”
Concerns regarding Monument Academy’s proclamation come as Colorado Springs School District 11 Board of Education members Al Loma and Jason Jorgenson have come under scrutiny for transphobic social media posts, which prompted a student-led protest during the Feb. 23 board meeting.
D11 Board Member Julie Ott said Loma and Jorgenson’s comments, “Contribute to a hostile and threatening learning and working environment for our students and our staff, for our community members and for our D11 families.”
Ott also requested to formally reprimand Loma and Jorgenson, but D11 Board President Parth Melpakam suggested getting legal advice during a private work session.
Nationally, approximately 280 bills have been filed targeting transgender people and their access to health care, public accommodations, and appropriate legal identity documentation. On Feb. 22, Texas Governor Greg Abbot issued a letter instructing the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to treat gender-affirming health care for transgender children as child abuse.
Jessie Pocock, the executive director of Inside Out Youth Services, a Colorado Springs nonprofit that supports LGBTQ youth, said in a Feb. 22 statement, “It is never appropriate to stigmatize and discriminate against any child. This proclamation from the school board of Monument Academy sets a dangerous tone of targeted discrimination against LGBTQIA2+ students. By proposing policy to actively deny students’ legal protections, the Board’s behavior shows an overall disregard for the health, education, and safety of those it has the distinct honor and responsibility of educating. We are so disappointed by the efforts that seek to dehumanize our youth. Our Safe at Schools Coalition continues to uphold its commitment to ensure that all students in the Pikes Peak region have access to equitable education in a safe and affirming environment.”