I am posting typewritten notes of the meeting for your convenience. I do not have everything, but am posting what I have recorded, however, I have excluded people’s addresses for privacy concerns. When there is a portion that I am not sure of the interpretation, I have listed it in brackets [ ]. Please forgive me for any wrong names or spellings. I will be happy to correct them if you contact me at email@example.com
Board President Sid Green: (This statement is summarized to the best of my memory.) Mr. Green asked everyone speaking to stand at the podium, keep their comment to 3 minutes, to refrain from personal attacks and asked that people keep their comments civil.
1. Scott Martin: I would like to thank my wife Lynette, my dear friend Don Robson, and my other dear friend Jean Papst for spreading the word on this. If you got information on it, it’s probably because one of those people got it to you, not because of the board here.
When we first told people of this new policy, one of the most frequent comments we recieved was, “Why haven’t I heard of this before?” The simple answer is the district didn’t want you to know about it. Alright? The only reason any of you know about it is because Colville community pulled together and informed the public, not because of the school district. They did not want to inform you.
This board and the Superintendent have eroded public involvement and public input down to next to nothing. Even with existing laws and policies in place requiring the district to include and inform the public, they clearly have failed.
The list of their own policies that require them to inform and involve the public is long
All of those policies they currently have [require them to be informing the public] of what’s going on. They require the public to be involved in the decision making process. None of those policies have been followed for years. Even when the district, years ago, did create some form of public input, it was always tainted by a process of intentionally hand selecting only people with certain beliefs or political views and excluding others.
If you ask me who the intolerant people are here, it’s not most of the people coming here tonight, it’s the board. The lack of communication with the public from this district can not get much worse. The secrecy has expanded even more than when Ken Emmil was here. Over the last 8 months, this board has had 13 closed door public meetings, or meetings without the public being involved. They’re even having one tonight after this. They will leave, close the door and have a meeting. But those same 8 months, the district has not had one Superintendent’s Kitchen article in the paper, they have not had one public forum, they have not had one public involvement meeting. They have done no outreach to the public of any kind. Nothing.
In closing, instead of discussing why half of the kids attending 3 through 8th grade have failed their last state assessment test in math, and the language tests aren’t much better; we’re here discussing a transgender policy which is not even required by law.
Get back to teaching teaching our kids.
2. Julie Paris: I’m not here to debate the policies. I’m here as a mother of three children in three schools, whose raising her kids to be moral, upright kids like me. I don’t want my daughter, or my sons exposed to the opposite sex. We’ve tried to raise them morally. We’ve tried to raise them to safe things. And it exposes them all to things that – we’ve not sheltered them from – but we have discussed in our own home.
My daughter in high school, she doesn’t need that. There’s enough stress in high school without wondering if there’s going to be a boy in your locker room when you’re changing. How many of your girls here really want that? How many? My son, he’s in 8th grade. Do you know what his comment is? “Mom that’s just embarrassing. Please don’t let that happen.”
They don’t want that, and you know, this isn’t about – for me, this is personal. This is what I’m protecting my children from today. They’re separated, there is male. When your child is born, they don’t say, “I’m not sure what it is – can you figure that out later?” They say, “Congratulations, you have a girl.” “Congratulations, you have a boy.”
I’m not trying to be controversial. I understand that there’s things going on today that are totally different than when I was in school, but where there’s girls and there’s boys, there’s still the opposite sex. There’s a lot of stress in high school. I hear it everyday.
I want you guys to think as parents. If your daughter is in the locker room, and a boy walks in, especially in high school, there’s things that you are not ready for your child, your freshman girl to see. They may identify as a girl, but they’re not yet. I mean, maybe some day those people will go get a sex change, I don’t know. But in high school, there’s still differences. Let’s keep our kids – they’ve got enough emotions and day to day drama that they have to face. Do we really need to add one more drama to their daily school?
Thank you so much.
3. Richard Dickinson: I want to thank you Superintendent Lewis and the School Board for allowing me to speak concerning the Transgender Policy and Procedure that is before us tonight. I’ll make my comments brief and to the point.
First of all, I believe deeply in the value of the worth of every human being and to be sensitive to each person’s story and personal journey is a part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
Secondly, I believe you also need to respect the privacy and the safety rights of the majority of the people when it comes to the use of restrooms and locker rooms. According to the [William Report] June 9th 2015, the LGBT community makes up less than 1/2 of one percent of the United States population. We have 1863 students in our district. If the math works out, we have approximately 9 students that are dealing with this issue.
Thirdly, I believe that the collective wisdom residing within our community can create a more appropriate and effective policy than the one handed down to us by the state or federal government.
Therefore, I recommend the School Board vote down the current transgender policy and procedure sections entitled “Restroom accessibility” and “Locker room accessibility” found in Procedure 3211P. I further recommend the School Board and the Superintendent appoint a committee of concerned citizens consisting no more of seven individuals representing various perspectives to draft an alternative policy concerning restroom and locker room accessibility to be presented to the School Board and Superintendent and community.
4. George Spears: I am fundamentally opposed to this resolution to change the policy on any number of levels. As aPastor on a moral level, on a biblical level; but as a Citizen of the United States on a legal level. There are no federal requirements that require school districts to grant students access to facilities that caters to the opposite sex. As a matter of fact, in most of the courts, even as recently as March of this year and September of this year have found that school districts that have imposed this are having to repeal them because there is no basis for the violation of the personal rights of children and the privacy of their bodies.
This school district will be opening itself up as well as the people of our own community and those who support this school district to the possibility of lawsuits. That would bring violations of not only the students rights of protecting the privacy of their own bodies, but according to the ruling, according to the language in which you wrote, in terms of keeping the privacy of the student from their own parents. Parents have a fundamental right to [garbled] our students whose imposing certain values on our students and what those students are being exposed to.
As was stated earlier by a mother so well, I have a right to teach my child at home the facts of life, and how they get introduced. And your proposal would be actually violating the rights of parents to control certain sexual content issues as well as just common sense. [Comment covered by applause.]
I would love to believe the best of every teenager, but I also understand what being a teenager is about. I don’t think we can trust teenagers to handle the complexities of this situation well, reasonably or safely without creating an undue stress on our teaching staff, on our counseling staff, and on you as a School Board having to navigate many number of untold difficulties down the road. This just lacks common sense as well as common decency and high morality.
5. Daniel Sarber: I really appreciate some of the comments you folks have spoke before. One of the things that really concerns me is this is the first I’ve heard of it; a couple of days ago. As an elected official of the Board, shame on you for not getting this information out.
I will again say, like the person before me, there is no federal law that requires school districts to grant students access of facilities dedicated to the opposite sex. I do believe that we are divinely given a sex. A male and a female. And just because I say that doesn’t mean I’m going against individuals that need help. I want to come along these individuals and help them out.
I am in strong opposition to this transgender policy. I have two daughters and a boy in the school. And I will ask you to also oppose this transgender policy. Some of the things that really concerns me is we are trying to define what truth is. What is truth? What you are saying here tonight if you guys voted for this policy, then you’re saying the truth is that we can choose our sex. That we can choose [what gender] we’re going to live our lifestyle. I’m going to say what I said before. We are divinely given a sex. Male and female.
This concerns me because today we tell our kids, “Hey, it’s wrong to lie.” We reprimand them. We come along side them and we tell our kids you can’t lie. It affects everybody when you do that. It affects you, it affects everybody around you. So what’s next folks is what we’re telling you is that the truth to someone else could be it’s ok to lie. Where does it stop? Where does it stop to what truth really is?
I believe truth in that we are male and female, and we need to help these individuals that are confused. I ask that you please do something else other than following through with this policy.
6. Name not Stated: It’s hard to believe we are having this discussion. Colville High School on November the 11th Veterans day honored our Military Veterans who served our nation. I as well am a USMC Vet of 8 years. I very well remember that even among the most anti social characters in the United States Marine Corps who claimed no faith in God or any particular religious beliefs that there was a clear understanding of what we were representing and protecting. We were protecting personal liberty, the American way of life, and each other. Never in our imagination would any of us have ever thought that the tolerance and individual choice could be used as a tool of perversion, social destruction and political leverage.
One of our American founders said “Our liberty is not the freedom to do wrong.” God’s word in the bible says, “The liberty we have in Christ is not the liberty to sin.” Former President George Bush Jr. also said, “The freedom we have is not an excuse to do wrong.”
Our veterans did not defend this nation and the members of this Board so that you could pervert what is right. By following some insane social trend that is being used as a political weapon that we can pervert the all American social culture of our communities here in Steven’s County.
[Covered by applause] Some of us here seem angry. I’m angry. This infuriates me. I and many others are angry, ashamed and embarrassed over this outrageous and insane notion of allowing male and female adolescents to decide their gender against obvious natural evidence. Furthermore to enter into naturally divided sanctuaries of the opposite sex depriving our young ladies, especially, of their dignity and right to privacy.
[Covered by applause] … know the difference. The whole animal kingdom understands this. As such, it would appear that the intellectual and moral level of this Board has diminished far below the animal world […] having conjured up this evil in our community.
[Covered by applause] … disgrace by your consideration of this ludicrous and evil policy. This gender policy in no way benefits our children’s education, nor our communities future. In fact, it’s the very opposite. It would seem the Colville School Board has abandoned real education for social and political engineering.
Regardless of whether or not [covered by applause] of this insanity, a moral, civilized, and dignified people cannot allow such depravity in our community. Financial well being and resources can never be allowed to dictate moral absolutes and guide civil rights culture. If we allow such depravity, we do so against God almighty and at our own peril.
In conclusion, you may ignore this just warning, however, history is filled with such moral collapses and subsequent destructions of societies [and their soul]. I prayed this morning for our children’s sake and our own future.
7. Name not Stated: (Speaking to the Board) You guys doing ok? So I’d like to first of start by saying thank you very much for the opportunity to speak and I’d also like to thank our wonderful community for showing up and for taking interest in such an important issue among our school.
With that being said, I would like to preface my comments and basically state my thoughts on this issue. This is a topic that many of us have a lot of strong feelings and emotions on, especially since the particular issue pertains to our children. We are very passionate about our children and about their safety and physical and emotional well being. I think it’s safe to say that we all want what will be the best for our children. We want to ensure their safety and happiness in everything they do.
We do live in a world with differing opinions and beliefs on just about everything at this time. With so many differences, I think we have a tendency to forget about all the similarities we share on common ground. We allow our emotions and our prejudice to get in the way of being able to think clearly and respectfully, and it hinders our ability to use our differences to work together to become better and stronger.
Regardless of our own personal stances on homosexuality, on transgender individuals, we still have a duty as parents, as members of the community to ensure safety and privacy and protection for all children regardless of the many differences that exist.
Members of the Board, you all have a six page letter that has been shared with you. It’s been written by the Alliance Defending Freedom. This document presents information that basically establishes the stance that no federal law requires public schools to open sex specific restrooms, showers, changing areas to opposite sex students. Providing such access violates the fundamental rights of the vast majority of students and parents and the schools have broad discretion to regulate the use of school restrooms, showers and changing areas.
Well, I hope that each of you takes time to read through and consider the information presented in this document. I want to share my personal belief in regards to this, which doesn’t really differ from the beliefs that have been expressed tonight. I do feel that gender is a divinely instituted property of our identity. It is something that is eternal. We are who we are before we come on Earth, we are who we are on Earth and it is something that is not going to change. Although I do know that we have different feelings inside. Sometimes identity can be a very difficult thing to deal with in young people. I do think that we need to make sure that we are ensuring a safe place for our children and that we are also making sure that we are respecting the privacy rights of everybody involved.
With that, I do think the School Board can find a way to work with the community and the parents in perhaps establishing a discussion where it gives us the ability to work together and actually come up with a solution that does not involve opening our bathrooms and locker rooms to those of the other sex.
8. Jenny Lytle: In our home, we teach our children that modesty, chastity and sound principles will help create greater self respect and will prepare them for the joys of intimacy and parenthood within the bonds of marriage. My children deserve the right to live these values at school. I had much more to say, but it’s already been so eloquently said, so I’m just going to echo that.
I believe this policy over reaches the law and it’s not necessary, we can do better. Let’s have a committee, let’s table this policy, but we can do better.\
9. Christine Wilson: I’ve lived here since 1979. My husband and I live about a mile from where my great grandparents lived, so I feel.
Audience: We can’t hear you. Speak up please.
Christine Wilson: (Speaking about the microphone) This is for short people. Ok, can you hear me now? So, I am trying not to eat that thing you know.
So I’ve been a psychotherapist since 1979. I used to feel the same way as some of the people who are here felt and have expressed. I have changed my attitude by education, because I found out that I was wrong actually. So what happened to me is that I watched a video tape of a person who was transgender that I found myself kind of giggling and rolling my eyes and I realized, listening to this person suffering, that ‘she’ had been born, that this was not something she was choosing. I don’t know why anybody would want to choose to be this unhappy and treated this badly.
So she had gone through the surgery and was living a much happier life, but she had experienced horrible treatment. So I started interviewing people, I read books, I went to training and as of now, it’s not considered a mental illness, there is no diagnosis anymore called gender identity disorder. It was dropped because the researchers found that it’s an anomaly, it’s a physical anomaly, it’s not something that people choose, it’s not a perversion.
In fact, what actually will happen is that some people …. See I was reading Facebook and I was just appalled at our community and the negative stuff they were saying to the School Board. It broke my heart because I live here too. Transgender people are way more likely to be the ones that are victimized and the ones who are the victims. And I think that’s really, really important for people to understand.
I know that we don’t all agree with each other, but my first degree was actually in History and Political Science and the way our country is set up, there’s a majority and there’s a minority. There’s lot’s of different minorities. Our job as a majority, people, is to support the minority and not to reject them. Even if it is only 9 people in our community, they are part of our community, they live here too.
Part of the problem, I think, is that it’s scary to accept new things. Our brain is wired to hear about new things, and take it as a life threat.
Excuse me, please let me finish. I’ve been very polite, and I expect that from you guys too.
So what’s happening now is that when people get afraid, they go into the back of our brain, and the back of our brain is where we distinguish this kind of conversation from being chased by a tiger.
And I’m not making this up, this is what the researchers say. So what happened with the American Psychiatric Association, is the reason why they took that off the list of mental illnesses, is because there was no evidence for that. Believe me, the American Psychiatric Association doesn’t say anything without tons and tons of research.
What I’m saying, what I know now is – I’m sorry, I’ll say this fast. What I know now is that there’s a lot of schools all over the country that use this policy, it’s used just fine. There’s 17 schools that are actually …
Audience: Time! Time! Time’s up!
10. Doug Ensley: Once, we were able to recognize that reality was something different from fantasy and delusion. Unfortunately, today that distinction is gone, or more to the point, it’s become irrelevant. What you say you are, or what you feel you are, you are. That’s crazy.
I do not want my grand daughter to be subject to a transgender person in a bathroom or shower, or locker room or whatever. It’s not proper. If the Board should choose to pass this policy, it would be an outrage, and it would be unacceptable.
I would call on the Board to draw courage from yourselves, to stand up to political correctness and the demands that it imposes on you. It appalls me to think that the Board would even submit such a policy, let alone adopt it. I would call on the Board, if you have transgender students, I would call on the Board to offer them counseling, not accommodation.
11. Walter Stichart: In the opening words of our state constitution, we pay tribute to the divine lawmaker. It is the firm belief of many here this evening that this same divine lawmaker instituted the natural law in which the terms male and female are clearly defined. It is the opinion of many here this evening, that our state, a human lawmaker, over stepped it’s bounds when attempted to redefine what had already been defined by nature. And so we get into this agonizing task of defining gender expression, gender identity, gender non-conforming, transgender, transitioning, and so on.
All this redefining or defining can be nothing more than reinforcing the mis-steps of our state. Let us quit pretending. I say again, let us stop pretending that what is natural, is now illegal. Will someone in the crowd please shout, “The Emperor has no clothes.”
(Audience laughter and applause)
When an institution, and educational institution asks a student what gender would you like to be, it has presented an option to the student that does not exist in the field of biology. And hence, that institution cannot be accurate in the discipline of biology.
I hope, from now on, that any student stamping his foot to get his or her way will be stamping in vain, because it is being done to an educational system that teaches an already existing way imposed on it by the natural law and by the many parents who subscribe to it.
12. Name not Stated: What’s so upsetting to me is I find out this with about 24 hours to react as a father. A couple of questions for you folks (gesturing to the Board), do any of you folks have children going to Colville Public Schools?
(Board members nodded.)
Ok, you two. I’ve got three daughters attending and even one grandson attending. [One at the Junior High. Two at the high school and one at Hoffstetter]. Very upsetting to me. You might as well decree that the sky is not blue for something like this. And then what you do is you don’t even tell us what’s going on here. This is a society changing measure here. Cooked up in the hot houses over in Seattle, democrat central committee, or some liberal hot house in Olympia.
You do not need to react to any of the political correctness that we’re getting out of the press or the Obama administration. Everything that’s being handed down is up for litigation these days. This kind of a measure – if you have an attorney who is advising you that this broad, far reaching policy has to happen – you are completely wrong. I’ve been on the phone today with three different attorneys who completely disagree with you. A major firm, the [Alliance Defending Freedom] has offered to … they have model legislation, policy right here (showing paperwork). The last page of this handout – if you’d like a copy, we’ve got it.
It’s one thing to be against something, but it’s another to present something that’s really terrific and this would probably – they would defend this policy (holding up paperwork) if you were to implement this alternative transgender, or what’s called the ‘Student Physical Protection Policy’. It’s been passed in other states, it will pass here.
I guess the other question I have here for you folks (speaking to the Board) is why is Colville out in the lead on this? Of all places. We are very conservative, heavily churched and you’re getting out in front with a policy that might do well in Bainbridge Island or West Seattle or something, but why Colville? I suspect your little group here has just become kind of a little click, and maybe a political action committee, but you are elected officials, and you are here to represent the people.
I highly suggest you really maybe put together – get together with some of us out here and ask us what we think and lets get together on a policy that we can stomach.
13. Name not Stated: Thank you. I don’t have a lot to say about the policy at hand except I don’t think our boys and girls should be sharing changing rooms and bathrooms. What I do have, is I did what Mr. and Mrs. Martin asked me to do several board meetings ago, I put in a request for Public Information and I got back that you put in 16 requests, 38 different items, and at the last board meeting, the dollar figure to look up half of those requests was $38,000.
The last meeting it was almost $50,000. Before this is done, it will cost our kids nearing $100,000 and I’m just wondering how we can justify it when we’ve got other problems like this staring us in the face?
That’s all I have to say. Oh, by the way, you guys don’t seem to get, we have a board meeting every month. You could come and stay informed at what’s going on at the board meetings, instead of bombarding these people all at once.
14. Name not Stated: I don’t have a lot to add to the excellent comments that have been made here tonight. I tell you, it makes me proud to be a part of this community [covered by applause].
I just have a couple of things I want to add. One is I want to remind us a little bit about the original purpose of public education in America that was set forth by the Northwest Ordinance that established public education. Article 3 states:
“Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary for good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged.”
We need to get back to the original intent, don’t we?
(Audience verbally agrees)
The fourth amendment, of course, guarantees us the right to privacy, and it’s a God given right. It’s not given by the constitution or by men and it’s been violated here. This whole proposal is not only indecent and immoral, it’s unlawful. It’s against the law. It’s against the Constitution of the United States. This is a lawless thing that’s being done here today.
I want to just quote one thing here today out of this excellent handout. By the way, thank you very much whoever put this together, this is very good.
[Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 720 (1997)] “In a long line of cases, we have held that, in a long line of cases, we have held that, in addition to the specific freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, the ‘liberty’ specially protected by the Due Process Clause includes the rights … to direct the education and upbringing of one’s children …”
You know, I’m not in the Colville School District, but you guys elected these people. And how many of you would be willing to run for school board?
(Audience members raise hands and there is quiet laughter.)
Alright, good for you. I’ve got a suggestion. You need to fire all these people.
(Audience applause, cheers and whistles)
And I wouldn’t wait until the next election, they need to be recalled right now.
(More cheers, whistles and applause)
This would have never come to this place if there was any moral decency left in this board. At all.
(More cheers, verbal agreements and applause)
I want to strongly suggest that you fire them right away and you replace them with these people that raised their hands right here in this room.
You need God fearing people on your school board. You need people that still believe in the biblical, traditional values of America once again.
NOTE: This is several part series of posts where I will be transcribing the comments from the people speaking at the meeting. I will post each part as I have it transcribed.