School board to discuss policy allowing sex-based clubs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education will meet Thursday with an attorney to discuss their policies concerning non-curriculum related clubs in the district. The meeting is open to the public.
The school board wanted to make sure they “clearly understood all the ramifications of the policy change” that once again allowed gay-straight alliance clubs at schools, said Chairman Dr. Richard Miller.
The discussion is in response to the community’s vocal response to changes to Policy 6-8 at the board’s June 26 meeting.
The policy change was unanimously and quietly approved May 19, eight years after the same policy was modified to ban sex-based clubs in the district.
The newest updates to the policy, however, remove the language that prohibits clubs such as Gay-Straight Alliance.
Eleven out of the 14 people who signed up for public comment at the board’s June 26 meeting spoke out against the policy change. No one spoke in favor of the change.
Those who spoke leaned heavily on the Bible and the county’s traditionally conservative values to support their argument.
School leaders, however, said the policy must be changed to be in line with state and federal law.
“The legal opinion that was presented to us was that we were violating the federal requirements,” Miller said.
If sex-based clubs are banned, so must all other non-curricular clubs, including organizations like Junior Civitans and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
In addition, the board is expected to vote on a continuing budget resolution. Because legislators have not yet passed a state budget, the board will vote whether or not to authorize superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody to continue the operation of the district until the budget resolution can be presented.
Moody will have the authority to approve funds in keeping with last year’s budget, with several exceptions including salaries, child nutrition and capital outlay.
The board will also review three district policies regarding technology, including the responsible use of technology, Internet safety and employee use of social media. The review will be a first read and the board will not be required to take action.
The board’s work session will be held Thursday at 4 p.m. at the school system’s administrative offices, 110 S. Long St. in East Spencer.

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