OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Following the lead of several other area school districts and local municipal governments, the Shawnee Mission School District updated its non-discrimination policy on Monday to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Before voting unanimously to approve the changes, school board members pointed out the amendments to the policy simply put in writing what the district already practices.
Several parents and residents, on both sides of the issue, made impassioned speeches during the public comment period.
“This isn’t about sexual anything, this about accepting people, regardless of who they are, who they love, or who they identify as,” Jacob Moyer said, a recent graduate of the district in favor of the changes.
“The people that really hurt me the most, the people who made me go through suicidal thoughts when I was in high school, the people that made me want to self harm, those were the people like these,” Moyer said, referencing others at the meeting who spoke against the changes.
Kathy Laverick was one of many parents and grandparents who spoke against updating the policy.
“You have put out the welcome mat to activist and LGBT groups and, sooner or later, they will come knocking and demanding,” Laverick said. “What ever have you done?”
School board members pointed out the updated policy is similar to actions taken by neighboring districts, such as Olathe, Blue Valley and DeSoto.