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Board urged to be open on its sexual identity views

NEW ULM– The District 88 School Board again heard from Mary and Michael Thom on the topic of sexual orientation being taught at the schools.

During the public comments section of the meeting, Mary Thom asked the board to be open about its vision for the district. A month ago, a petition was presented to District 88 School Board requesting the individual board members take a public stance on whether sexual orientation and gender identity were appropriate in kindergarten through third grade. The board gave no response to the petition.

Mary Thom urged the board to be open about their views to assist the public in determining who to vote for during the next school board election.

“We are not just harping on this and obsessing on a particular item,” Mary Thom said. “The importance of addressing this now is highlighted by suggestion raised in training and also in our state and in our country.”

Michael Thom raised concerns about the school’s new gay-straight alliance club PRISM. Thom said he understood the club has the right to be organized, but wanted the board the recognize the club’s goals and characteristics were unlike other clubs. He wanted the board to consider amendments to school policy to prevent the club from introducing and promoting a belief system in the public school.

He suggested policy amendments that would classify presentations sponsored by PRISM as controversial to protect the rights of those holding a negative view of the presentation.

“The policy would recognize the right of parents to receive a notification when such presentations and events have been added to the school calendar,” Michael Thom said.

He said his proposal is not discriminatory because it is not an attempt to ban the club or prevent it from hosting events.

“It’s not discrimination if parents who are concerned about this subject are asked to be informed about this element of school life that is so important to them in raising their children,” he said.

None of these topics was on the agenda. The board took no action and gave no response.

New Ulm High School’s graduation ceremony will be held 7 p.m. Friday, May 27, in the high school gymnasium.

The next School Board study session will be held 5 p.m. Thursday, June 9, in the District Conference Room. The next regular school board meeting is 6 p.m. Thursday, June 23, in the District Board Room.

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