OPS board to discuss including LGBT in policy

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jun 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-20 18:48:56-04

What could be considered a routine review of policy by Omaha Public Schools may have changes coming to keep up with the country's social climate. 

Superintendent Mark Evans will review the current policy for the school board Monday evening.  OPS Board Policy 1200 addresses anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, and anti-retaliation for the district.

OPS Board Member Marian Fey of says she wants to see specific language added to the policy to bring protections to LGBT students.

“I think there’s a difference between putting out fires, which I think the anti-discrimination policy does, and fire prevention which is what I would like to do as a district,” Fey explained.

In May, the US Departments of Justice and Education released guidance to help schools ensure the civil rights of transgender students, which includes allowing transgender students to use bathrooms that match their gender identity,The current policy says OPS won't discriminate because of sexual orientation and says who complaints should be reported to, but doesn't give specifics.

Fey says she wants to address the federal government's recommendations for transgender locker room and bathroom use, but also wants community LGBT partners and families to give their input so their policy doesn't miss any concerns.

"I think we have a lot of students in our district that feel the burden of proof is on them to defend what are the same rights that every other kid in the district has,” Fey described.

The meeting starts Monday at 6:30pm at the OPS TAC Building located at 30th & Burt St.  Public comment will be allowed before the agenda item comes up.