This evening, the Columbia Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of amending the district’s nondiscrimination and student’s discipline policy to include gender identity and gender expression. The amendment impacts both students and employees. The policy already protects students and employees based on sexual orientation. Columbia School District is the 9th largest school district in Missouri with over 17,000 students.
Columbia is not new to policy changes including gender identity. Both the city of Columbia, and University of Missouri have passed policies that include gender identity in their nondiscrimination policies.
According to the Missouri School Board Association, fewer than a dozen schools in Missouri have a nondiscrimination policy that includes gender identity. As a state, Missouri, does not have nondiscrimination or anti-bullying protections. This map gives further clarification: http://www.glsen.org/article/state-maps
A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO, said, “It is great to see Columbia Public Schools moving in this direction. As we have seen around our state, and the nation, updates to include the transgender community are necessary in order to meet the growing knowledge and awareness of the community.”