Jeffco Parents Rally Behind School Board’s Strong LGBTQ+ Policy

Despite the harsh weather, scores of parents and community members reached out to the Jeffco School Board during public comment to express their hope and trust in the district to stand by LGBTQ+ students by upholding the district’s JB-R policy, in addition to supporting Colorado House Bills 1039 and 1323. The March 14 meeting was held remotely to accommodate  the snowstorm.

The district’s code JB-R upholds equal education opportunities for transgender students.  Enacted in 2013, the code has received calls from a small number of far-right groups outside of Jeffco to be rewritten.

Colorado HB24-1039 “requires public schools and institute charter schools to use a student’s preferred name, if a preferred name is requested by the student; and deems a school’s refusal to use a student’s preferred name a form of discrimination,” according to the bill’s summary.

Colorado HB24-1323 prohibits a school from restricting a student from wearing culturally or religiously significant objects at a graduation ceremony or restricting what a student wears under their graduation attire. 

“Please keep up your important work of advancing our schools and their inclusivity,  protecting our students and ensuring the supports are there for those learners who are historically harmed and ignored,” commented longtime Wheat Ridge resident, parent and founder of Wheat Ridge For Equity, Morgan Richards.

Suzanne Grishpul, a Lakewood parent, called the district’s JB-R policy “the gold standard.”

“My kids go to the Jeffco Open School and it is honestly really inspiring to see a space where they can be fully themselves, and be embraced for who they are,” said Grishpul, who is the parent of a trans student. “I’m here to urge you to continue to support this policy and not give in to pressures to roll it back.” 

“From a civil rights standpoint, this policy is monumental, especially given the context that we’re seeing around the world, and around the country, and other places where trans rights are being attacked and trans youth are being attacked,” Gishpul added. 

Although the district’s JB-R code was not on the evening’s agenda, parents and concerned parties voiced their support for the code during the public comment period, and nearly all the board members reiterated their support for the code and upcoming legislation during their individual reports.

“When the students come together as they do, and tell us what will help them make their experience the best it can be, I want to listen and I want to follow through,” said Councilwoman Mary Parker. “That’s why I’m very proud tonight to be supporting the legislative bills that are coming up.”

Parker called HB24-1039 “a very simple bill.” 

“It is really just zeroing in on the dignity of the students, and in all humans, the right to be respected, the right to be recognized for who they are, and this bill, as it is written, does not say anything about parental notification or deception or withholding information anything like that. This bill is simply saying that our staff should be respecting kids and acknowledging them and calling them by their preferred name.”

In regular business, the board reviewed this year’s second quarter financial report, and capital investments, including renovations to Wheat Ridge High School. The $10.5 million project is scheduled for completion in 2025. 

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