-May 28th -

Things to make note of include:

Minute Mark 1:52:30

+Policy 440 Staff Gender Inclusion

Board Member Beebe express a concern over name and pronoun usage (Section 4) stating it is compelled speech and it has happened in other districts. She states she wants to protect the district. There are court cases where this is a violation of one's freedom of speech and of religion. She notes that the policy does not offer any language to cover for the religious and speech rights of individuals. Beebe also states the definitions section does not contain scientifically correct definitions.

Tom Bennett (MM 1:59:00) states the policy includes the language "should" in place of "shall" as in most policies in regard to pronouns and names. He states it is a good faith effort, allows for a slip, and is more for if a someone is mocking another. Mr. Bennett gives the example by sharing, " I slip up too. My daughter has many friends that, their genders are fluid. They change. One month they might be this gender and might be something different . So I might mix up or I might say the wrong one and it happens. It's not intentional. It's no disrespect to that student, that individual. We are all trying. Anyone who is giving a good faith effort isn't going to be punished."Tom Bennet's comments reveal two key problems with the policy that expose the district to significant legal risks:

1) If there is threat of discipline for refusing to use pronouns due to either scientific facts or faith values, that is compelled speech which is unconstitutional.  That is the concern brought by Beth Beebe.

2) Some students or staff are either gender fluid, or consider themselves beyond gender, or refuse to use any pronouns, or prefer to be addressed by pronouns rather than their name.  These are all situations that were presented to 3rd graders this fall during a pronoun lesson plan and have been the subject of court cases all over the country.  A student should not be expected to keep track of all the various permutations of gender identities for students and staff, or be disciplined if they find it too cumbersome to observe all the rules of engagement. For example, It is absolute insanity for a student/staff to be forced to address another student as "zie" rather than their given name for typical conversation, such as "Does anyone know where zie is?" or "Please take your seat zie".

Minute Mark 1:05:00

+MN Read Act: Goal to have every MN child reading at or above grade level every year.

*The Act requires 55-60 hours of teacher training

*District will restructure how the $450,000 Literacy Incentive Aid is spent

*By 2026- every school district must have a literacy expert

*Training will happen by allowing for 6 additional non-instruction days.

*BPS is still providing the state statute required amount of time of instruction and is still over the required minutes in most cases if not all. Calendar Changes- those stated above and the addition of a 1st day of school for 9th grade HS students to onboard without the older grades present.

*Childcare options being explored to provide additional options for the non-instruction days.

Minute Mark 1:45:00

+Policy 609 Religion in the Schools

Language added/removed "Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate any student who wishes to be excused from a curricular activity for a religious observance." Language around reserving Wednesdays for religious activities was removed. 

Minute Mark 1:49

+Policy 610 Field Trips 

Extended Field Trips-name form change. Board Member Beebe asks about sleeping arrangements based on sexual identity rather than biological sex. She states guidelines and specifics are missing from this policy and in the gender inclusion policy. Mitcher replies with, "You are right. Nothing so far. We do not have anything on that."