Monument Academy, a public charter school in El Paso County’s Lewis-Palmer School District 38, passed a resolution Tuesday night regarding transgender students following a town hall session with the school’s legal counsel, Brad Miller.
According to the resolution, “Regarding the privacy and protection of students as it relates to Colorado SB08-200 and Colorado HB21-1108,” Monument Academy (MA) “will never promote gender confusion or gender dysphoria in students that we have been entrusted to serve; nor will MA promote, encourage, or motivate the transitioning of students that are gender confused whether intentionally or unintentionally.” The resolution goes on to set specific requirements for transgender students to be recognized at the school, noting that “the board shall mandate that any student under the age of 18 who is affirmed by the parental or custodial or legal guardians must further transition with a change of name and change of gender Infinite Campus and any other associated school records and that the transitioned student must conform to the dress code of the gender that they now identify or express as with no vacillation.”
Before the town hall with Miller, Monument Academy Board President Ryan Graham provided context for the proposed resolution. “This is not just an issue that only Monument Academy faces,” he said. “This issue is statewide and affects every school district and charter school across this state. Students who express or identify as a gender that does not align with their biological sex are ostensibly protected by the law, specifically SB08-200 and HB21-1108. These statutes mandate that every traditional public and charter school across this state must not discriminate and must allow students to use a sex-specific bathroom and a sex-specific locker room that aligns with their gender expression and/or gender identity. As most of us are aware, many schools have just entirely laid down and capitulated in this fight because they are not willing to risk legal action and the cancel culture mob that will seek to silence and destroy them. What is even more egregious is that some of these schools are outright embracing affirming and perpetuating this narrative without the child’s parents ever being made aware.”
Before handing the meeting over to Miller, Graham made sure to clarify the purpose of the meeting. “Let me be explicitly clear that tonight’s town hall is not about inciting hatred or harm against any of the students that we have been entrusted to serve,” he said. “We are not here to wage war against any of our children, but we are here to push firmly back within our legal limits against those that have set their sights in coming after our children.”
However, the day before the event Graham appeared on Kim Monson’s radio show, describing the increased acceptance of transgender youths in public schools as a “pretty nefarious agenda,” and claiming “when these kids want to use a restroom that doesn’t align with their biological sex, it creates a big problem.”
Transgender people in Colorado have had legal protections to use public accommodations such as restrooms and locker rooms since 2008. The rights of trans students to use public restrooms that correspond with their gender identity was affirmed in the 2013 ruling in favor of Coy Mathis, a trans student in the Fountain-Fort Carson School District who was denied bathroom access.
Miller began his town hall by comparing the political fervor surrounding the existence of transgender people to the George Orwell novel 1984. “When I was reading 1984 as a sophomore in high school it was still futuristic, it hadn’t got there yet, and in the 70s it just never occurred to me that we could get to that kind of society, that kind of place,” he said. “I remember I couldn’t even envision being in Winston’s shoes. It just didn’t make sense to me. He had the secret journal, remember, because saying out loud the the doubts that he had about the party and its truths was too dangerous. He even got to the point where he doubted his own conscience because no one around him had the courage to speak the obvious truth. In the late 70s when I was in high school we were worried a little bit about Gorbachev, and David Bowie had this great song about the Berlin Wall, but we weren’t really thinking about a time where we would be our civil liberties would be at risk, and we definitely didn’t think that the day would come when we would need to keep our thoughts to ourselves about government stances that were objectively untrue. I sort of think that a sophomore today might read the book and think to himself if it was called 2024 it might be on target. It feels like we’re right around the corner from a time when we could get arrested for having beliefs that are not in line with the party. I just saw in California there’s a law being proposed where the government could take away your kids if you refuse to let them undergo gender-affirming surgery. … tonight the MA board and leadership want to invite you into a little conspiracy and they want to ask you to join them in being thought criminals like Winston was at the later part of 1984.”
After inviting the audience to join “a little conspiracy,” Miller, who has built his current reputation by representing conservative school boards involved in a variety of controversies, addressed the recent media attention he has received.
“Some of the articles in the progressive news sources about tonight’s meeting will be based on a theory that I or people like me are the instrumentalities for this massive ‘right-wing power grab’ of our schools that is being orchestrated and I think they’ve misread things.”
Both Miller and Graham are alumni of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, a libertarian education program whose graduates have influenced education, politics, and media in Colorado for decades.
The first speaker during the town hall was Kristy Davis, the co-chair of El Paso County’s Moms For Liberty chapter. Miller was the featured speaker at a May 22 Moms For Liberty meeting in Colorado Springs. Nationally, Moms For Liberty has worked with Koch network-adjacent groups like Parents Defending Education and the Heritage Foundation, as well as the Proud Boys. In El Paso County, Moms For Liberty has held meetings at DCF Guns, the Colorado gun store chain owned by perennial defamation defendant Joe Oltmann.
Davis read a statement from Moms For Liberty Chair Darcy Schoening:
”Thank you for holding this important event this evening, and for your willingness to hear from parents whose children have been harmed by the destructive parents of a very vocal minority. The dangerous weaponization of sexuality and gender by the left has come to small town America, Monument, and wreaked havoc on our children, their mental health, and their safety. Children deserve to be loved, treated equally, and respected. Forcing girls to compete with boys for sports awards, forcing girls to change next to boys like at Palmer Ridge [High School] this year, and asking boys and girls to use the same restroom is not equality. It’s morally bankrupt politics aimed to force a wedge between a parent and their child — a child who’s already struggling.
“It’s time to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ This entitlement seeks to weaken parental rights and produce kids who hate their parents while calling for bigger government and handouts. This is communism, and our kids are bombarded with it daily. The state of Colorado doesn’t know best. I know best when it comes to my kids. My daughter will never change in front of a boy who identifies as a girl. I speak for millions and millions of parents in that I am afraid not to call that insanity. Studies have shown that kids with autism are three to six times more likely to identify as transgender. There’s no such thing as a transgender child. There are confused children and there are adults who use them as political chess pieces. What this really comes down to is that it is an extreme safety risk to our girls to allow boys and men into women’s restrooms and changing space. Women who have been sexually assaulted feel especially vulnerable when they are in a closed space and the doors open and they do not know who is walking through the door, especially when they know that these spaces are no longer protected, no longer safe.
“J.K. Rowling recently wrote an amazing article addressing this. She states, ‘When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman, then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside.’ That is the simple truth. She goes on to say, ‘I spent much of Saturday in a very dark place inside my head as memories of a serious sexual assault I suffered in my 20s reoccurred on a loop. That assault happened at a time and in a space where I was vulnerable and a man capitalized on an opportunity. I can’t shut out those memories and I was and I was finding it hard to contain my anger and disappointment about the way I believe my [U.K.] government is playing fast and loose with womens’ and girls’ safety.’
“Moms for Liberty is standing with Monument Academy and we appreciate the effort that you are putting in to safeguard our girls. We will not stand silently while harm is being done, mentally and physically, to women and girls. Nor will we bow to a political movement that is seeking to erode women and provide protection and cover for predators. It’s time to treat kids like kids. It’s time for the government to get out of our homes. It’s time to put common sense back in school. It’s time to protect our women and girls. We fully support Brad Miller and his efforts to stop harming little girls and children under the guise of progressivism.”
Other speakers included Ivy Liu, the censured board member from Colorado Springs’ School District 49, where Miller also serves as legal counsel, and former Republican Representative Tim Geitner.
Before voting on the resolution, Miller noted, “This board has incredibly thoughtfully, incredibly prayerfully addressed their thoughts and concerns about this. We’ve worked it through and I think they’re resilient and ready to stand firm on these principles.”
The resolution was adopted unanimously by the Monument Academy Board.