WALES, Wis. — At a July 26 Kettle Moraine School Board Meeting, a district code of ethics prohibiting staff from promoting political or religious views was revised to include Pride flags and the use of pronouns in email signatures.
During Tuesday’s meeting, many students and their families expressed their concerns with the policy. Edith Cramer, an incoming freshman, was one of them.
“I don’t want to be misgendered and I want people to know, especially if I’m meeting new people, I want them to know they can feel safe around me,” Cramer told TMJ4 before the meeting.
Cramer identifies as transgender and uses he/him pronouns. He said his identity isn’t political.
“It’s just part of who I am. I mean, people can switch political stances and people can decide to support one party or another, but I didn’t decide one day that I was going to be trans. I didn’t decide one day that I was going to have dysphoria,” Cramer said.
Going into a new school this year, he now faces more than just the start of the school year anxiety. He fears he won’t be accepted for who he is.
Another student who spoke during the meeting said, “The best way to tell if a teacher is supportive is if they have a Pride flag in the classroom.”
The Trevor Project, a national LGBTQ crisis and suicide prevention organization, sent a letter to the Kettle Moraine School District outlining the importance of gender-affirming schools.
The letter says: “LGBTQ who report having at least one accepting adult are 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt. Further, LGBTQ youth in schools with an LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, and by extension, classroom practices, were more likely to report that their peers were somewhat or very accepting of LGBTQ people and less likely to experience harassment.”
TMJ4 News reached out to the board president and the superintendent for interviews. We were sent the superintendent’s comments from the July school board meeting where he calls the policy a professional expectation.
Kettle Moraine policy by TODAY’S TMJ4
There were a couple of people at the meeting who spoke out in favor of the district’s policy.
“The vast majority of us demand that our schools focus on teaching our kids and not bringing divisive, politically charged issues into the classroom,” one parent said during the meeting.
Another student thanked the board for their decision on the policy, saying she wanted education to be the focus in classrooms.
But for Cramer, it comes down to being seen and accepted.
“They talk about wanting to have the students accept differences and be able to understand diversities and stuff, but the way that they’re doing this is just really hypocritical,” Cramer said.
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