Gender identity prominent topic at RCAS School Board meeting

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Monday night at the Rapid City Area School Board meeting, there were some differing opinions on two policies regarding discrimination harassment and sexual violence response.

The school board approved a second reading to update two Western Dakota Tech policies.

WDT proposed adding the term "gender identity" to their discrimination and harassment policy.

Some groups that are already protected against discrimination in the policy include those identified by religion, disability. Now, gender identity will also be defined and included.

Some school board members suggested removing the terms "gender expression" and "gender identity" because they think it's unclear on what crosses the line of discrimination.

Some questioned: "Is it not calling someone the pronoun they want? Or not letting them use the bathroom they want?"

Other board members say updating the policies is a sign of our society moving along.

Matt Stephens, a school board member, says, "Decades ago, it was people of ethnicity and color. They were the ones being discriminated against and harassed and so we passed laws to protect them from such harassment and discrimination. As we become more aware and more educated, and we recognize that certain people are more vulnerable to this kind of harassment, we recognize that they need greater protections."

Both policies will go through a third and final reading at the next school board meeting.