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Missouri School Board Member Rejects LGBTQ Statement of Support, Focusing on Academic Priorities

A school board member in Missouri, Steve Makoski, has rejected a resolution suggesting a statement of support for LGBTQ students in the Springfield Public Schools district. Makoski argued that activism should not be brought into the board and emphasized the need to prioritize academic subjects like reading, writing, and mathematics. The suggestion for a statement of support came from another board member, Shurita Thomas-Tate, who highlighted the concerns of LGBTQ students feeling unsafe. The board ultimately disagreed with the suggestion, and Makoski received applause for his remarks.

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Debate Over LGBTQ Statement of Support

During a school board meeting, Thomas-Tate proposed drafting a statement of support for LGBTQ students, emphasizing the importance of ensuring their safety and well-being. She argued that it would not cost the board anything to provide support and inclusion for a specific demographic of students. However, Makoski prepared a statement in response to the resolution, expressing his opposition to drafting such a statement.

Makoski’s Opposition and Focus on Academic Performance

Makoski explained that the district already accepts and supports all students and staff, making a separate statement unnecessary. He raised concerns that passing the resolution would imply that LGBTQ students were not initially considered or supported. Makoski emphasized the need to prioritize academic subjects and improve proficiency levels in reading, writing, and mathematics. He expressed concerns about low academic performance and the board’s time being occupied by issues not directly related to education.

Community Petition and Board Engagement

The debate surrounding LGBTQ support has been ongoing for nearly a year, with community members petitioning the board to vote on a statement of support. The petition highlighted statistics about LGBTQ student experiences, including bullying and feelings of unsafety in school. Makoski mentioned that community members continuously raised these concerns during public comment periods, which he believed became repetitive and time-consuming for the board.

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School Board’s Response and Statement

Springfield Public Schools issued a statement emphasizing their commitment to the well-being of all students and their focus on creating a welcoming and inclusive learning environment. They highlighted their unanimous adoption of a five-year Strategic Plan that prioritizes all students. The board’s vision is to equip students for success and enable them to pursue their goals and highest potential.

Conclusion

The rejection of a statement of support for LGBTQ students by Missouri school board member Steve Makoski has sparked a debate about priorities and activism within the education system. Makoski argued for a focus on academic subjects and expressed concerns about low proficiency levels. The school board’s response emphasized their commitment to creating an inclusive environment while prioritizing academic opportunities for all students. The ongoing dialogue highlights the complexities surrounding LGBTQ support and the varying perspectives within the educational community.

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