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Community members raise concerns for LGBTQ policies in Lee County schools

The School District of Lee County’s code of conduct was approved by parents of students at Lee County schools at the start of the school year, but some parents have raised recent concerns for LGBTQ policies in the code book that were already approved.

The code of conduct was voted on and approved by every member of Lee County School Board and all parents of students in the District.

Although parents are upset about some LGBTQ polices, part of their concerns for polices come as a misunderstanding that all bathrooms in Lee County schools would become unisex bathrooms.

That’s not true.

Some parents and other community members spoke at Tuesday night’s school board meeting about masks and a flyer laying out different ways schools can support LGBTQ students. Most of the people who spoke during public comment were not in favor of the code of conduct. But there were those who did speak in support of the policies, including a student.

It says all students are allowed to access the restroom that is consistent with their gender identity, or be provided appropriate accommodations as requested.

Accommodations are determined in collaboration with District staff on a case-by-case basis.

The District said a flyer that displays LGBTQ information in schools is not new. It’s a cause for concern among some parents, but it’s been in the code of conduct all year.

Parents were required to sign a sheet that confirmed they read the code of conduct and approved it for the 2020-21 school year.

Back in June 2020, the school board unanimously voted to adopt the code of conduct.

New outrage was brought up at a school board workshop Monday.

A few board members said they weren’t aware of the flyer, and others responded and said there were multiple discussions about the code of conduct at different public meetings.

Many of the board members said they’ve fielded multiple calls from outraged parents who think the board was signing or adopting a policy that would make all school bathrooms unisex.

They said that is not the case.

“I think it’s, it should have been something that was brought to our attention that this flyer was in there,” board member Melissa Giovannelli said.

“You cannot sit here and say that you didn’t read it, and you approved it. I’m sorry,” board member Cathleen O’Daniel Morgan said. “I support having this conversation as part of the 2021-2022 code of conduct, but I don’t think there is any rationale for going back to an action that was taken a year ago.”

Although parents and concerned community members spoke at the meeting during public comment, the topic of discussion was not a prepared issue on the board’s agenda.

Lee County School Board said at the Monday workshop it will discuss next school year’s code of conduct and the flyer at a public meeting 6 p.m. Monday, April 26 and listen to community members at that time.

Reporter:Andryanna Sheppard
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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