The Keystone Academy Board of Directors agreed to sign a professional educators’ amicus brief on a case that may be going before the U.S. Supreme Court.
At the board’s regular meeting Sept. 8, board president Vesta Losen explained the procedure.
Losen reminded board members that on June 23 they approved a motion to take a stand on transgender bathroom issue with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The first of several federal law suits highlighting this issue is now being considered for review by the U.S. Supreme Court, she said.
In GG v. Gloucester County School District, a student is relying upon the U.S. Department of Education’s directive to demand access to facilities reserved for members of the opposite biological sex.
A friend-of-the-court brief is being prepared to inform the Supreme Court about the challenges faced by professional educators. The brief will highlight the dilemma educators face when seeking to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all their students; advocate for authority to resolve challenges for transgender students on a case-by-case basis (without prescribing any single method); and request the Department of Education to avoid making sweeping changes without getting the input required by law.
Alliance Defending Freedom lawyers are filing the amicus brief and asks that as many educators as possible sign the online document.
Losen said people involved in education are asked to visit www.SignYourSupport.com/educators to learn more and to sign up if they support it by Sept. 20.
There is no cost to the signers and the only information shared with the Court is the name, title/credentials, and state of residence. All other contact information, including email, is provided in case the legal teams need to contact the signer in connection with an amicus brief.
“I know other teachers and other board members will be happy to sign this,” Losen said. “It’s all on line.”
She said the idea is to get 3,000 persons and board members to sign before submitting it to the Supreme Court.
The representative of Bay Mills Community College, which authorized chartering of Keystone, said he has two boys and two girls and he definitely is in favor of keeping boys in the boys’ locker rooms and bathrooms and girls in the girl’s locker rooms and bathrooms.
“Young children are being taught there’s nothing wrong with it,” Losen said. “I don’t want to see it here, in our state, or in our country.
“I am going to contact others in education,” Losen said. “Children’s welfare means a lot to me.”
In other business at the Sept. 8 meeting, the board:
• Heard Keystone Principal Keturah Godfrey announce that Keystone is full with 779 students. Also, there is a full staff with the exception of Oliver Rodriquez’s music position. Godfrey said he wanted to have a band and he got a band job elsewhere. She also reported TGA golf for younger students is starting up, along with the chess club and other activities
• Received a report from National Heritage Academies comparing Keystone’s 2015-16 state academic scores with adjoining districts. Keystone shows higher proficiency in all categories over the Van Buren Public Schools, Lincoln Consolidated School District, and statewide scores. “We outperformed other districts and the state,” Godfrey said. As far as the MSTEP results recently received, she said, “We’re proud of our results… We feel we’ve done very well”;
• Heard Jeff Henders of NHA report that Keystone academic results are great by academic performance in schools across the state is declining because of the state changing the tests. He said teacher turnover is more because as the economy grows, other schools have money to pay our teachers. “There’s a lot of competition now for teachers,” he said. Godfrey said it is frustrating to say goodbye to teachers, when she and the teacher are crying and hugging and, “We can’t give them $15,000 more a year and Ann Arbor has more per-pupil funding”;
• Approved $3,000 for the Token Economy – School Store project and $9,000 for the athletic program. Godfrey said students get tokens for positive behavior support and once a trimester the store is open all day to redeem the tokens. She said very few students do not participate; and
• Learned a new member will be joining the board after agreeing to volunteer coach so there won’t be a conflict of interest by receiving pay from Keystone while serving on its board.
The next Keystone board meeting is 6 p.m., Oct. 13.