SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City School Board on Tuesday evening passed an LGBT inclusive anti-bullying policy, as well as a mostly inclusive non-discrimination policy after almost two and a half hours of debate.
The non-discrimination policy would grant protections to students, teachers and other staff of the district; the anti-bullying measure protects students. Both measures have been debated on and off for the past 5 months.
As originally presented, the non-discrimination policy would have only included sexual orientation, but no protections for gender identity or gender expression.
Board member Alama Uluave immediately moved to remove sexual orientation from the list of protections, claiming the protection would put gay people on a pedestal above heterosexuals.
But Board Member Doug Nelson disagreed, and said the policy would in no way provide “special” protections for any class of person, but rather creates a level playing field for all. Board member Heather Bennet followed up on that, pointing out that every person has a sexual orientation as well as a gender identity -– the policy protects all students, not just the LGBT kids, she said.
The amendment to strip out sexual orientation was defeated, at which time it was proposed adding gender identity to the policy.
The measure passed by a vote of 4-3, inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity, but not gender expression.
The anti-bullying measure provides a comprehensive policy, covering several issues, including weight, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Again, Uluave proposed no less than 4 amendments to the bill, trying in every way possible to strip any mention of LGBT out of the bullying policy, and said that there are no concrete and visible benefits, and asserted that LGBT people aren’t discriminated against. All amendments failed, and the anti-bullying measure passed.