On September 15, the Wisconsin State Legislature proposed bill AB562. This bill would require schools to notify parents before providing any program related to sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or gender expression. Under the bill, parents could choose to opt their children out of such programs.
In MMSD, we are deeply committed to ensuring equitable, inclusive, and welcoming learning communities for all of our children. Allowing parents to opt students out of programming related to sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression prevents scholars from understanding the diversity of their classmates.
Too often, teasing, bullying, and violence are common experiences for LGBTQ+ youth, and as a district, we know inclusive education is critical to creating a sense of belonging and safety for all students in our schools. As part of our commitment, our MMSD Nondiscrimination Policy (Policy 4620) states the following: “District policy protects students from discrimination and harassment regarding a person’s sex, race, color, age, national origin, ancestry, religion, creed, pregnancy, marital status, parental status, homelessness, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or disability including their physical, mental, emotional, or learning disability and/or retaliation as defined in this Policy.”
Last spring, MMSD LGBTQ+ youth held a rally to raise awareness to our school board, our district, and our community of the importance of representation, belonging, and safety in our schools. AB562, the proposed parental opt-out bill, is in direct opposition to our district’s values and our students’ voices. This bill does not support the needs or the mental health of our learners.
Our shared values of belonging, racial equity, and social justice drive our decision-making at every level. MMSD is often a leader in LGBTQ+ inclusion and stands strong in our commitment to our students, staff, families, and community.