Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education passed a ground-breaking resolution Monday night vowing “unwavering support” for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer” students and staff.
All board members present voted for the resolution. The only one missing was Vice-Chairperson Gloria Torres.
Just a start
“The resolution is just a start for our district of recognizing that we are a diverse district and that we are proud of everybody in our district whether it be students or teachers,” Chairperson Paula Lewis told Free Press after the vote.
But, even though this is a historic action by the board of the largest district in the state, she seemed determined to do more as did others on the board.
Some members asked about why the board could not pass resolutions of the same sort of other groups within the district such as black and Hispanic heritage students.
Lewis seemed clear in her comments to us that she is ready.
“I’d like to get an overarching policy that says we as a district recognize not just our nondiscrimination, but a true policy that says we recognize all these groups and they’re safe to work here and they are safe to go to school here,” Lewis said.
We see you
Carrie Jacobs talked to Free Press about her support of the resolution before the meeting was called to order.
“It sends the message that the district is for all kids,” said Jacobs. “It says that we see you and we are grateful that you are here. We value your contributions.”
Having covered the OKCPS board for several years as a reporter for The Oklahoman, Jacobs could not recall any such public statement by the board in previous years.
Rev T. Sheri Dickerson, Executive Director of Black Lives Matter – Oklahoma, is a proud member of the OKC Pride board and the pride parade chair. (Dickerson is not related to this reporter.)
“I’m really excited about it,” said Dickerson
“I know that many of the parents and staff of OKCPS have been hoping and desiring that we were going to become a school system that honors and understands the importance of the protection needed as well as encouraging our LGBTQ community.”
She said that she has “very good friends” who work in OKCPS and are parents of LGBTQ students in the district.
Dickerson said the staff members were always concerned that if they allowed others to know their orientation, their job might be on the line even if their performance was good.
And some parents of students in the district were concerned for the emotional and mental health of their students who thought they had to hide who they were.
Dickerson was happy to see a resolution that would allow staff and students to “live freely and walk in their truth.”New Doc LGBTQ Resolution 2017-06-12