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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Ohio state school board to consider resolution on LGBTQ discrimination and school lunch funding

The message "being trans is not a phase" was written in chalk outside the Ohio Statehouse after a protest over a bill banning gender transition treatments for minors in May 2022. [Karen Kasler /  Statehouse News Bureau]
The message "being trans is not a phase" was written in chalk outside the Ohio Statehouse after a protest over a bill banning gender transition treatments for minors in May 2022.

Ohio’s state school board will vote next week on a four-page resolution against a new federal rule which requires schools to investigate claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or risk losing their school breakfast and lunch funding.

The resolution, proposed by Ohio Board of Education member Brendan Shea — a financial business owner who has five homeschooled children — states that sex is “an unchangeable fact," and it says "[d]enying the reality of biological sex destroys foundational truths upon which education rests and irreparably damages children."

The resolution says "proposed regulations would require that K-12 schools socially transition minor children to a different gender without requiring parental notification or involvement." It goes on to say those regulations would harm children. The resolution says kids — who are allowed to gender transition by their schools — “will then pursue medical and surgical interventions which have irreversible, life-altering consequences for school age children."

Bills that have been proposed in the state Legislature to ban trans athletes from girls sports are supported by the resolution. It says that the federal rules would require access to restrooms, locker room facilities, and sports teams "based on gender identity rather than on biological sex." The resolution argues that would increase the risk for "harassment and sexual assault" along with competition on an "unfair basis against males for athletic opportunities and scholarships."

LGBTQ advocates have adamantly opposed anti-transgender measures that are being considered in the Ohio General Assembly, such as the ban on trans student athletes and a ban on gender transition procedures for minors. Equality Ohio has said these policies are a form of government overreach that marginalize transgender youth — people who are already at a high risk of mental health issues.

The resolution says the board believes the new rules are without legal force and urges the 100,000 public and private schools and residential childcare institutions in Ohio to defy them. The resolution estimates 516,000 Ohio children qualify for food programs served by those facilities.

Five of the 11 elected state school board seats are up this year, and there are four appointed seats that would be filled by the candidate who wins the governor’s race.

Groups that support and oppose the resolution are calling on those who feel the same to send emails or attend Tuesday’s meeting to speak out.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.