School Board Member: “Quite frankly, it’s not the parents’ damn business” to know about the policy.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey filed a lawsuit against the Wentzville School Board for holding closed-door meetings on transgender student bathroom policy in violation of Missouri’s Open Meetings Law, his office announced yesterday.
Attorney General Bailey said the lawsuit follows revelations from two school board whistleblowers that the secret discussions took place over their objections this past summer. In sworn statements, they describe how the board discussed whether or not parents would be notified when their child requested a restroom accommodation.
When someone pointed out they should be having the discussion in a session open to the public, the Superintendent told them that “this conversation can’t be discussed in an open session because we would be a ‘lightning rod’ for lawsuits.”
She then told them exactly the kind of information parents, especially those with daughters, would want to know:
that there was a male student that was using the female restroom at one of our middle schools and they would be a freshman this school year.
She continued by saying that the girls do not mind. They think of this (boy) student as “just one of the girls” and if we saw this student, we wouldn’t even know he was a boy.
But regardless of how he looks, parents and students alike might very well mind a boy in the girls’ room. Nevertheless, the school board insisted on keeping its conversation a secret. The whistleblowers describe how their concerns over the Open Meetings violation were repeatedly dismissed: “Quite frankly,” said one of the members, “it’s not the parents’ damn business.”
However, “Missouri law makes clear that a policy of this kind is indeed parents’ business,” the Attorney General said. Parents were deprived of the opportunity to “attend and voice their opinions involving the policy discussions affecting the well-being of their children,” according to the complaint. The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief under Missouri’s Open Meetings Law, as well as monetary penalties for each violation.
“Parents have the right to know who is in the bathroom with their children. Members of the Wentzville School Board knowingly and purposefully denied parents that right when they shrouded the transgender student bathroom usage policy in secrecy, directly violating the Open Meetings Law,” said Attorney General Bailey. “My office is sending the message that Missourians do not co-parent with the government. We will enforce Missouri’s open meetings statute to protect parental rights.”
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