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‘Prayer’ Over Gender Identity Policy Makes Maryland School Board Member ‘uncomfortable’ During Meeting

A Maryland school board member denounced parents and residents who prayed over a gender identity policy during a recent school board meeting.

Policy 443, enacted by Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) in 2017, aims to “prevent discrimination, stigmatization, harassment and bullying” of transgender and gender non-conforming students. It states that FCPS employees must obtain consent before disclosing a student’s gender identity, as well as be trained on how to “foster a more gender-inclusive environment” through curriculum and classroom management.

The policy sparked debate at FCPS’s June 14 school board meeting, despite no revisions to it being on the meeting agenda. Some attendees chose to quote Bible passages while voicing their stance, which raised concerns for one FCPS school board member.

“The amount of prayer happening in this room…I find it uncomfortable in a public school setting,” David Bass said. “And so whether you are trying to protect trans students or whether you are speaking against Policy 443, I would encourage folks to really think about, are there ways to make your points without…without public prayer?”

Two attendees who spoke identified themselves as “ordained ministers.” Rebecca and John Shillingburg condemned the backlash Policy 443 has recently received.

“This exemplifies, for me and my faith, how we love and affirm our neighbor as ourselves,” Rebecca Shillingburg said of the policy.

John Shillingburg seemingly criticized those who feel the policy’s language restricts parental rights.

“Our national civic discourse has become focused on ‘rights,'” Shillingburg told the FCSP school board, gesturing air quotes as he said “rights.”

“And much of that discourse is focused on fear of losing one’s rights. I don’t think that’s a good way to be running a country, I don’t think it’s a good way to be running a school system, I don’t think it’s a good way for a society to exist,” Shillingburg added.

The use of prayer in school board meetings has spurred controversy in other states, including California. The Gateway Unified School District (GUSD) in Redding faced calls earlier this year to stop allowing Christian prayers to be recited during its meetings.

Source : wjla.com