OPS board talks LGBT non-discrimination policy

Posted at 10:52 PM, Jun 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-20 23:52:54-04

The Omaha Public School board discussed updating its non-discrimination policy at its meeting Monday night. 

Less than a dozen people spoke either for or against adding these four word to the policy: gender identity, gender expression. 

Eris Koleszar, a transgender woman, spoke in favor of OPS updating the non-discrimination language. 

"I am standing with those here who want those protections for trans students," said Koleszar. 
She recalls her tought times when she was in school in Indiana. 
"I know without a doubt I wouldn't have been able to use the woman's restrooms to play on woman's teams to have my nouns and pronouns taken seriously," said Koleszar. 
Koleszar says while it seems public perception has titled, there's still a ways to go. "We are still feared, and that fear seeps into the very deepest parts of your bones".
There was just one opponent who spoke up saying this addition to the policy is just too much. 
"Stop pushing all of this stuff on our kids too, I have nieces and nephews and you are confusing them," said Gwen Easter. 
Currently the OPS non-discrimination policy lists, race, color, national origin, even sexual identidy but nothing about protection of transgender students. 
OPS Superintendent Mark Evans says the current policy is more accepting than others. 
"I would say that's probably more inclusive than 75-80 percent of the policies that I've seen in other school districts," said Evans. 
However the majority of the board thinks it could be beefed up. 
"To me, whatever their background is, we are suppose to keep them safe," said board member Yolanda Williams. 
The OPS policy board will discuss this topic later this month, hoping for parents and students input.