Board of Education unanimously passes resolution for LGBTQ+ representation |

Board of Education unanimously passes resolution for LGBTQ+ representation

Summit High School is pictured March 18. The Summit School District Board of Education passed a resolution on Wednesday, Oct. 6 intended to solidify the school's stance that LGBTQ+, Black, Indigenous and people of color communities should be represented in curriculums beginning in kindergarten.
Photo by Jason Connolly / Jason Connolly Photography

The Summit School District Board of Education reaffirmed its commitment to representing historically marginalized communities and sent a message to the Colorado State Board of Education at its Thursday meeting. 

The board members unanimously passed a resolution that included its equity policy,= — named “Just and Equitable Education,” which was passed unanimously by the board on May 13, 2021 — as a response to the Colorado State Board of Education’s stall on including diverse perspectives into Colorado classroom curriculums, said Kate Hudnut, board of education president. 

The resolution states that the board is concerned over the state board of education’s consideration to not include LGBTQ+ folks and people from various racial and ethnic backgrounds into curriculums of lower grades. 

Hudnut said she “felt that it was very important for our board to have a voice in alignment with (the district’s) strategic plan and alignment with (the district’s) graduate profile to be very clear on where (the) board stands as (the state board members) go into a decision around those standards.”

“There are more than one type of human being in this country, in this world, and let’s just represent it.”

At the beginning of the meeting, the floor was open to public comment. Some were grateful, but others expressed frustration about the resolution. 

“Teaching about LGBTQ to impressionable, vulnerable (kindergarten) through (third grade) children is absolutely not the place of the school or the state,” said Danielle Surette during public comment. “That is a decision that should be left up to the parents. There is also no reason for it.” 

Surette explained that she believed the board was doing an injustice for LGBTQ+ and Hispanic communities, among other groups, by passing the resolution.“

“This constant wanting to divide people into groups and project onto them that they are marginalized or oppressed is destructive and poisonous,” Surette said.  

In addition, Surette expressed concern that the school board was pushing their personal agenda onto students without enough input from the community, and she added that there was not enough advanced notice.

Nevertheless, two Summit High School Teachers expressed gratitude for the resolution, as did one Summit High School senior who was thankful for the ripple effects the resolution may have for future students. 

“Looking back on my history classes, literature classes, health classes, and really just about all of my classes, there were so many opportunities to discuss LGBTQ+ topics that would have made me feel like I might have had a place — not only in my classroom at school — but in this world I was brought into,” said Haley Jacks, a Summit High School English teacher. 

Jacks ended her statement appreciative that the board proposed a resolution that “upheld” the district’s message: “we belong.” 

Board of education director, Chris Alleman, also spoke in high support of the resolution.

“This is not trying to indoctrinate anyone into a philosophy. It’s just saying — don’t ignore the fact that people of color, or LGBTQ communities have existed for thousands of years,” Alleman said. “Put that into the curriculum. Teach it. Use it as examples.”

Alleman continued with an example. “Don’t just say, ‘Jimmy and his mom and dad went to the park and saw four types of birds. Can you think of four types of birds?’ It’s to say: ‘Jimmy and his two dads went to the park.’ It’s just saying that there are more than one type of human being in this country, in this world, and let’s just represent it.”

By the end of the meeting, after a comment about the consent agenda, board of education director Chris Gareno proposed the motion to approve.

“We have some really powerful things on our consent agenda tonight, and I’m really excited to vote on them,” Gareno said. 

In a unanimous vote, all board members voted yes to approve the consent agenda that included the resolution. 

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