A Missouri school board rejected an LGBTQ+ “statement of support” after facing calls to draft a statement from community members.
Springfield Public Schools board member Shurita Thomas-Tate suggested that the board draft a statement at a school board meeting on Tuesday. When making a case for an LGBTQ statement, Thomas-Tate said that students of the LGBTQ community expressed that they don’t feel “safe.”
“I personally would like for us to have a resolution and the reason why I think a resolution is necessary because we do have a subset of our student population who have voiced significant concern about their welcoming environment,” Thomas-Tate said.
Community members started an online petition in January demanding that Springfield Public Schools (SPS) “vote on making a statement of support for the queer students and staff who are enrolled in/work for the SPS” throughout the academic year.
Furthermore, the petition called on the SPS board to vote on a draft statement submitted by Dr. Kyler J. Sherman-Wilkins during a board meeting on Sept. 6.
The petition cites statistics saying that one-fifth of Gen Z students identify within the LGBTQ+ community and that over 65% say they experienced bullying or feel unsafe at school. Moreover, 45% of them have suicidal thoughts or attempts.
However, the board did not work in their favor after other board members disagreed with the suggestion.
Board member Steve Makoski, who “prepared a statement” in response to the resolution, pushed back on the suggestion to draft an LGBTQ+ affirming statement, prompting applause.
“As a member of this prestigious board, I’m not here to push forward an agenda of sexual identity, GLO… rainbow clubs, MAGA groups, Pride, NRA, NAACP, or any other group or faction,” Makoski said.
When Fox News Digital reached out to SPS for comment, it sent a statement saying, “Our Board of Education remains committed to the well-being of each student by providing high-quality academic opportunities.”
“We want every Springfield Public School (SPS) student to be success-ready when they graduate and pursue their next step. While there may not always be agreement, we are unanimous in the adoption of a five-year Strategic Plan that prioritizes all students,” the statement continued.
“This plan includes a focus on creating a welcoming and inclusive learning environment for everyone. We care about our students, staff, and their families. Our unified vision is for SPS to be the district of choice that equips each student to pursue their goals and highest potential as an engaged contributor to society. As we move forward, our focus will remain on that outcome.”