Metro BOE updates policy to protect GLBT people

The Metropolitan Board of Education (MBOE) has ratified a 2008-2009 contract which includes for the first time protection of employees based on sexual orientation, gender identity and creed.

The amendment was a part of a greater package, advocated by the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association (MNEA), that the board ratified June 10.

“There are very few school systems in the state that currently have this inclusive language for teachers,” said Stephen Henry, vice president of MNEA. “It says a lot that this large an agency in Metro government has now expanded this protection to be more reflective of the Nashville community at large.”

The new agreement  between the board and MNEA, under Article III, Section 1, Non-

discrimination, reads: “There shall be no discrimination in the filling of positions, administrative or classroom or extracurricular because of race, religion, creed, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, color, age and/or disability…”

"Education professionals and students will now find an environment where discrimination will not be tolerated," said Chris Sanders, president of the Tennessee Equality Project, in an email. "It is our hope that the same inclusive policy will apply to all Metro employees soon."

The board also expanded the student/parent handbook and code of conduct to reflect the policy changes, a goal of the Support Student Safety and the ACLU. 

"The Support Student Safety coalition is extremely pleased that the Metro School Board listened to and took seriously their concerns," said Christine Sun, staff attorney for the ACLU LGBT Project. "We applaud the School Board for reaffirming their commitment to providing a safe learning environment for all students, including those who are transgender or gay."

The new language was set in place by a negotiation council comprised of representatives from the board and the teacher’s union. The package was then ratified by MNEA teachers and sent to the board. All nine board members voted in favor of the updated agreement, Henry said.

“There was a consensus among the negotiation council that this was a good thing,” Henry said. “We went in with the goal of making our school system better and we ended up with something we were proud of and not just something we can settle for.”


Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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