School district asked to 'add the words' - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

School district asked to 'add the words'

Protections sought for LGBT staff, teachers, students

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Posted: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - The controversial campaign to change Idaho's anti-discrimination laws to include protections for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has surfaced again in Coeur d'Alene.

Nine months after the Coeur d'Alene City Council adopted an ordinance that prohibits discrimination in employment and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, Coeur d'Alene School District trustees are being asked to do something similar.

Susan Moss, a Coeur d'Alene attorney and the parent of children living in the district, attended Monday's board meeting and asked the trustees to overhaul the district's policies to provide protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

"In doing this ... you're saying that LGBT staff, teachers and students basically deserve the same shot at employment and the same shot at education as everyone else," Moss said.

Moss's request was not on the agenda, but it still attracted dozens of people to the meeting. Before Moss spoke, at least 142 people were crowded into the meeting room and flowing out the door of the district's Midtown Center on north Fifth Street.

Moss told the trustees she found nine different school district policies that are silent on non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

She said that sexual orientation is already noted in one of the district's policies - its anti-bullying policy.

"When we have the protection against sexual orientation in the bullying policy, you're basically saying, 'OK, kids can't be bullied for being gay, but we can fire our teachers for being gay,'" Moss said. "There is nothing that prohibits that here."

Board chair Tom Hearn said the trustees will ask their attorney to review the request to see how they should handle it.

Because much of the school district lies within Coeur d'Alene city boundaries, the city ordinance would cover the school district. But the Coeur d'Alene School District's boundaries also include the cities of Dalton Gardens and Hayden, where there are not similar protections.

Tim Scott, a former tennis coach at Lake City High School, spoke next.

Scott accused trustees Tom Hearn and Christa Hazel of being dishonest about the issue.

Scott said he and John Padula, who also attended Monday's board meeting, asked trustees in January and February if they were having any discussions with members of the LGBT community, and they were told no discussions were taking place.

"...this board was addressed with a concern relating to the LGBT approaching the school district board and proposing a change in school policy wording that would create a special class and a special group of individuals, which could ultimately open the door to allow these individuals access to their respective opposite restrooms and showers facilities and provide them with special privileges not available to other students," Scott said.

Scott said that through a public records request, the men received copies of all of Tom Hearn's school board account emails for November and December and discovered two instances where Hearn communicated with members of the LGBT community and the school board.

"You guys acted like there was nothing going on," said Padula, who runs Set Apart Discipleship, a faith-based halfway house that is an outreach of Good Samaritan drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Coeur d'Alene.

Trustee Christa Hazel said the men were mis-characterizing the situation.

"The statement that I lied is not true," Hearn said.

He said that when the questions were asked, no formal request had been made of the board. He admitted that he was aware Moss had contacted the district about the policies, and said he alerted other board members that the issue could become a formal request.

Superintendent Matt Handelman said he had heard from Moss last fall and said the matter was handled as a policy issue.

"I've been aware of it. Whether I knew she (Moss) was LGBT, that never came into play," Handelman said. "Ultimately the decision will come from the board. This is the start of the discussion."

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  • parent posted at 5:23 pm on Tue, Mar 11, 2014.

    parent Posts: 347

    Emails will show the truth. Hopefully the left side will be big enough to admit the truth and expect better leadership.

  • bruce wayne posted at 5:21 pm on Sat, Mar 8, 2014.

    bruce wayne Posts: 120

    Monday was the first official request. Stop twisting facts Tea Party.....common practice for Tea Party. No wonder we have conflict in the Republican Party.

    Hopefully someone runs against D.Ward.

  • bruce wayne posted at 5:16 pm on Sat, Mar 8, 2014.

    bruce wayne Posts: 120

    A ten year old boy saw the cover of sports illustrated which had the gay player coming out of college wanting to play in the nfl.....the boy said he shouldn't be allowed to play because he is gay.

    Right/ wrong?

    Put the 30 percent back in the public ed. budget that was cut.

    Put in funding for common core training and materials.

    Put in funding so that teachers dont have classes of 30 plus.

    Luna is horrible. Otter is horrible. Local legislators are horrible.

    God bless America!

  • Involvedad posted at 5:07 pm on Wed, Mar 5, 2014.

    Involvedad Posts: 20

    It is not true that the "protections are already in place" for people who are LGBT; they are in place for Christians and other religions. Should we remove those "special protections"?

  • parent posted at 6:36 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    parent Posts: 347

    Trustee Christa Hazel said "the men were mis-characterizing the situation."

    "The statement that I lied is not true," Hearn said.

    Whether I knew she (Moss) was LGBT, that never came into play," Handelman said.

    You can run but you cannot hide Hazel, Hearn and Handelman

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:34 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Liberty Jones

    It's the CdA way. Take a NON issue and make it one. :/

  • hayden_guy posted at 5:13 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    hayden_guy Posts: 400

    Arius1, do you remember when you made the choice to be straight? The life events that caused you to be straight? Or is that just who you are?

    Giving LGBT equal protection as we do to people who choose what religion they follow is not promoting any life style, it is saying that they are people and should be treated equally. Anything else is saying they are lower in quality and should be treated as such.

    They do not have equal rights. Can they get married in Idaho? That is just a start, but the most obvious example of the fact that they can not marry the person that they want to marry.

  • CaiusCosades posted at 5:00 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    CaiusCosades Posts: 380

    What would Jesus do? Would Jesus discriminate and humiliate gay people?

    Christians just want people to stop discriminating against their right to discriminate!!!!

  • Liberty Jones posted at 4:06 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Liberty Jones Posts: 21

    So much for transparency and open discussion in the Coeur d’Alene School District. Emails, some going back as far as September 2nd , between school board trustees, Hearn and Hazel, district staff, Supt. Matt Handelman, School District Attorney, Marc Lyon, Asst. City Attorney, Warren Wilson, and activist attorney, Susan Moss, show the discussion to “add the words” to the district’s nondiscrimination policy has been going on for months. Even Dave Oliveria of Huckleberries was contacted by Trustee Hazel on December 2nd.

    As someone who has seen the emails, for Chairman Hearn to deny there have been any requests to the district regarding the issue in public is outrageous, unprofessional, and dishonest. Trustees Hearn and Hazel have shown poor boardsmanship and violated the trust of the people who voted for them by promoting a controversial agenda behind closed doors that they themselves support. Handelman’s active role in this is also a cause for great concern. His behavior is at best unbecoming of a man in a position of such great trust. Secrecy and collusion have no place in our schools to forward any agenda because the end never justifies the means. I hope the CdA Press will ask to see the emails in question in their entirety and report the real story. The people have a right to know the unspun truth.

  • Intrepid posted at 2:20 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Intrepid Posts: 1057

    And you cannot understand written language either. I stated that Homosexuality IS genetic in origin, not chosen or learned. Is that clear enough now? Downs syndrome is genetic. Just because there is a genetic origin does not render the condition or the behavior normal.

  • arius1 posted at 2:06 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    arius1 Posts: 792

    Contrary to what you think Ziggy, a lot of LGBT's do choose that particular lifestyle. I have lived in places where there are a number of gays. Some were my friends, some were just acquaintances. One guy was overtly effiminate/gay, he was raped by his uncles at a young age, he specifically attributes his lifestyle to that upbringing. Others I have talked to, have either had abusive parents, or have been raped as well. I suspect that had these horrible events not have happened in their lives, and that if they had grown up in a "normal" family, that they more than likely would not have chosen to be LGBT. Serious psychological help may have helped them, but in most instances lack of money seems to have been the obstacle.
    But, yes some are born that way, but from my experience most probably aren't.
    We do not need to promote the lgbt lifestyle, just so they can feel as if they fit in. It is an inside job.
    Yes they can have equal rights, and they do.

  • Intrepid posted at 1:25 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Intrepid Posts: 1057

    Agreed........... they are already protected - so there's no need for such specificity............. unless there is some other reason to emphasize the issue.

  • charliek60 posted at 1:15 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    charliek60 Posts: 204

    Let the boys in the girls locker rooms

    oh to be young again

  • Ziggy posted at 12:51 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Ziggy Posts: 1193

    I was born with red hair. Hardly in the majority. Perhaps an aberration or abnormality according to you? Perhaps I "chose" to be a redhead when I entered puberty. This is what you are claiming for homosexuality. That one chooses or is taught to be homosexual. That's ridiculous and you know it. I did not choose to have red hair. I was not taught to have red hair. I need equal protection for redheads just like you do for your hair color or your eye color or your skin color or you sexual orientation which may or may not be in the minority.

  • Why Not posted at 12:04 pm on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Why Not Posts: 4638

    Nice point DCI!

    Intrepid, contrary to your belief that this "is a tool being utilized to lay the foundations for instructing that homosexuality is somehow 'normal'." Ms. Moss' concern has to do equal employment opportunity and nothing more. I for one don't believe she has a legitimate concern and wish that the school board would concentrate on education rather than wasting time on matters best left to the Supreme Court. This is a non issue. All Americans are afforded the exact same civil rights protection. However, it sure is fun reading some of the ghost stories you all come up with, Boooo!

  • DCIDAHO posted at 11:21 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    DCIDAHO Posts: 2600

    Give it a rest rev. Highlight? Maybe not. But neither Downs, nor homosexuality is a reason to discriminate.

  • Intrepid posted at 10:08 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Intrepid Posts: 1057

    Specific identification in the rules is needed because of why? Why so intent on the school system? Is there a broader goal in play here? This is not just some anti discrimination human rights issue. It is a tool being utilized to lay the foundations for instructing that homosexuality is somehow 'normal'.

    Homosexuality exists and it has clear and clearly errant genetic origins.......... but it is not normal. It is a misdirected sexual orientation not to be conflated with or confused with, normal reproductive heterosexuality or heterosexual behavior. No student, whether homosexual or heterosexual, should be misinformed in this regard. This fact does not condone discrimination or misbehavior against homosexuals. But it is fact. Homosexuality is not normal.

    No, we do not need to highlight homosexuality in our schools behavioral rule books any more than we do Downs syndrome.

  • hayden_guy posted at 9:42 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    hayden_guy Posts: 400

    Already there. Illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion.

  • Why Not posted at 9:27 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Why Not Posts: 4638

    You already have it

  • IdahoLOVE posted at 9:22 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    IdahoLOVE Posts: 84

    As a Christian man of faith who was discriminated against in schools for years--I am looking forward to a special protected status for Christians in our area.

  • 986crazy posted at 8:29 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    986crazy Posts: 424

    Exactly, so just "add the words", not a big deal.

  • Why Not posted at 8:14 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    Why Not Posts: 4638

    It's Reefer Madness I tell you. I see gays, OMG..........

    Really now people, every American is entitled to the exact same protection in accordance with the fourteenth Amendment, United States Constitution. Everyone is entitled to the exact same civil rights under the Equal Protection Clause. The court has been very clear about drawing a line between rights and ridiculousness.

    For instance, since Mr. Scott is panicky about restrooms, then he should review, Romer v. Evans (1996), which should put his imagination to ease over LGBT toilet invasions. Actually, people like Larry Craig in the publics are a bigger concern Mr. Scott.

    Isn’t it really very sad that people like Ms. Moss find it necessary to make hey over such common sense issues, or that so many people are willing to show up to a meeting, pitchforks in hand? Have a little compassion for your fellow Americans and please let’s stop wasting time on non issues. The school board should be working with educators, government and parents to make schools institutions for learning, not hate.

  • rollingthunder posted at 7:43 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    rollingthunder Posts: 357

    Morality can not be legislated, so the liberals want to legislate immorality.

  • oscar posted at 7:20 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    oscar Posts: 1294

    This seems like non issue for school districts. There are gay students, teachers, and administrators in the north Idaho districts and there are already procedures to protect them and any other class of citizen. Doesn't seem like there is a real need to "add the words" except as a political statement. The protections are already in place.

  • ancientemplar posted at 7:06 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1229

    another special class of people embedding themselves into our lives

  • taxpayer posted at 5:53 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    taxpayer Posts: 342

    What are people afraid of? Maybe they have to own up the teaching of Jesus to be a good christian

  • manana posted at 5:28 am on Tue, Mar 4, 2014.

    manana Posts: 179

    "Moss's request was not on the agenda, but it still attracted dozens of people to the meeting. Before Moss spoke, at least 142 people were crowded into the meeting room ..."

    Someone looking for their 15 minutes apparently.

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