More

    Kenai School Board’s plan to ban discrimination may impact free speech, girls’ sports, more

    By AlaskaWatchman.com

    The Kenai School Board is considering a litany of new policies to empower the district in clamping down on what it considers to be instances of discrimination, harassment, intimidation and bullying.

    Student sad pic

    A slew of such ordinances will be introduced at the board’s June 7 meeting. In addition to prohibiting overt acts of violence, the proposals also aim to ban forms of speech, non-verbal actions and other behaviors that might be construed as creating a hostile or intimidating learning environment.

    The new policies are aimed at updating the school district’s approach to Title IX, a 1972 federal law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in educational programs that receive federal funding.

    As drafted, however, the school board’s proposals go well beyond mere sex-based discrimination to include discrimination based upon marital, pregnancy and parental status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and gender expression.”

    It is unclear how the new policies might affect free speech in schools, or the free exercise of religion.

    Anyone accused of violating the proposed policies would be answerable to a Title IX enforcer which the board hopes to hire. The coordinator would oversee and review complaints and investigate alleged discrimination as well as identify “systematic problems,” and conduct districtwide training sessions for all staff and students.

    The board’s proposals also include hiring an “investigator” and judge for the fact gathering, questioning and cross-examination process.

    In a number of districts around the country, anti-discrimination policies have been used to force teachers to use the preferred pronouns of students who identify as members of the opposite sex. They have also required schools to permit students to use bathrooms of the opposite sex and the allow boys to participate in all-girls sports programs.

    It is unclear how the new policies might affect free speech in schools, or the free exercise of religion. Towards the very end of one proposed ordinance there is a token mention of free speech, stating that the policy “should not be interpreted to prohibit a reasoned and civil exchange of opinions or debate that is protected by law and Board policy.” That said, the ordinance then goes on to clarify that “conduct that does not rise to the level of harassment, intimidation and bullying may still be prohibited by other policies or rules.”

    FILING A COMPLAINT

    One of the ordinances deals with filing a Title IX complaint to a principal, teacher, assistant superintendent, or the Title IX coordinator using the district’s official reporting form. These complaints can be filed on one’s own behalf, that of a group or for someone else that is believed to be a victim of discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying.

    Once a complaint has been filed, another proposed ordinance addresses the implementation of “supportive measures,” free of charge to a person alleging the violation. These measures include counseling, extending deadlines for course work, modifying class schedules, providing campus escort services and imposing restrictions on contact between the two parties at odds.

    DEFINING VIOLATIONS

    Yet another ordinance spells out a definition of bullying that includes instances which take place on school property, school facilities or during school sponsored events. Instances that take place outside of these environments can still be reported if they could “potentially” lead to material or substantial disruption of the school learning environment for a student.

    Again, the proposed policy deals with instances motivated by any protected class or status, including standard categories like race, color, religion, national origin, marital status, ancestry, age, disability, pregnancy and sex, but also “gender identity/expression and sexual orientation.”

    Actions would be considered “discriminatory” if they were perceived to create a “intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment,” or deprived the student of benefits, services or treatments. Discrimination would also extend to so-called “bystander support,” meaning those who “passively support” acts that are prohibited.

    As written, harassment, intimidation, or bullying would entail “written, verbal or electronic expressions or physical acts or gestures, or any combination thereof” which has the effect of physically harming a person, damaging their property or placing a person in “reasonable fear” of these things. Violations also involve creating an intimidating environment or interfering with a person’s ability to participate in services or activities provided by the school.

    The terms bullying, cyberbullying harassment, and intimidation, encompass the following acts: taunting, name-calling, belittling, mocking or use of put-downs, demeaning humor, spreading rumors, disrespectful gestures, non-verbal threats, blackmail, extortion or demands for money. Violations could also entail blocking access to “any property or facility of a school” based on the above protected characteristics.

    The ordinance extends to “cyberbullying” which are actions taken on social networking sites, chatrooms, instant messaging, computers and cell phones. One could be found guilty of cyberbullying for forwarding a communication that was sent to them by someone else.

    Physical instances of prohibited bullying include hitting, tripping, damaging property. Sexual bullying is defined as name calling, forwarding explicit messages or images or public shaming, physical assault and making sexual jokes.

    Aside from physical instances, the proposed policy also covers “social or emotional bullying,” which it acknowledges is “often harder to recognize.” This would be “encouraging others to turn against someone,” leaving them out or socially excluding them online.

    TAKING ACTION

    • The June 7 school board meeting is open to the public to attend in person. It will take place at Kenai Central High School (9583 Kenai Spur Highway) beginning at 6 p.m. To participate via Zoom, click here. To connect via telephone (audio only), dial (877) 853-5257 (toll-free).
      888 475 4499 US Toll-free. Conference ID: 708 024 188. When prompted for an Attendee ID, press #. The Zoom ID is 708 024 188. The meeting will also be broadcast live on the district’s website.
    • Those who wish to testify on any agenda item need to sign up by contacting Lisa Gabriel at (907) 714-8836 or lgabriel@kpbsd.k12.ak.us.
    • Click here to view the ordinance on creating a Title IX coordinator.
    • Click here to view the ordinance on filing a Title IX complaint.
    • Click here to view the ordinance on supportive measures for those who file complaints.
    • Click here to view the ordinance defining harassment, bullying and intimidation.

    Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

    Joel Davidson
    Joel Davidson
    Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.

    Share this article

    Related articles

    13 Comments

    1. What a convoluted mess. It is so wacky wokey confusing and over the top ridiculous that were I still raising kids and happened to live on the Kenai I would just get my kids out of the public school arena. Seems like a huge motivator to homeschool or open a private school. Hopefully parents will rise up and tamp down the insanity and then replace a few board members in the next election.

    2. You know this is getting absolutely ridiculous! This needs to stop! What are they doing to these children!

    3. And most of the spineless parents will just stand by and let it happen. We need to defund all public schools. They’re just grooming little communists at this point

    4. The governor oversees the Department of Education and should insist traditional Western Civilization be the model for curriculum such as the 1776 Report. The state department of education can disallow social justice models and use the Rule of Law in the US Constitution as our model. Social justice is man-made and big brother oriented. A traditional, classical education would instill the character building to excellence in all areas including academics. Our sex education used and proposed perverts our children’s thinking away from excellence including moral excellence. At present we are lowest in the country and Governor Dunleavy needs to push back against the move by Kenai’s Board of Education. Our Governor is conservative and certainly can help with these leftist moves. If you agree contact our governor’s office, or how about the state of Alaska Department of Education.

      • Dunleavy is no conservative. He is a bought and paid for swamp rat who lied to everyone who voted for him. He sold Alaska out long ago. He’s doesn’t even care about reelection. He only cares about his tier 1 lifetime state package. He will do nothing as usual.

      • Governor Dunleavy does not intend to even ban Critical Race Theory. Why? It is a local control issue!!!! BS flag.

    5. Filing a Title IX complaint
      Title IX enforcer
      Title IX coordinator
      Providing campus escort services
      Extortion or demands for money
      Don’t all these things, Add up to more money for the school.
      Plus this Woke Bull Crap, has got to stop

    6. DR ZINK THE GOVERNOR THE LEGISLATURE ALL MUST BE PUT ON TRIAL FOR THEIR PART IN THIS EVIL MURDEROUS USE OF THE BIOWEAPON……. LAWS WERE PASSED THAT DENIED MEDICINE AND HOSPITALS BECAME TYRANTS LAIRS OF DEATH AS PATIENTS WERE USED AS NUMBERS OF DEATH FOR BONUSES TO THE BASTARD HOSPITALS,,,,,, THIS IS WHERE THE COLLUSION OF LAWMAKERS AND THE TYRANNY WILL BE SORTED OUT IN A NUREMBURG SETTING,,,,, THEY RAN FROM THE PEOPLE AND THE CONSTITUTION AND RAN TO THE COVID MONEY PIT OF THEIR OWN DEMISE,,, THE WATCHMAN WARNED.

    7. There will always be enough parents enrolling their child into a public school providing the bread, cheese, and wine for the employees. The parents don’t recognize they have been destroying the security of their own future by maintaining a more illiterate and codependent generation than the one coming before the child. What good is a codependent and illiterate adult child to an aging senior parent when their aging parent didnt protect them and raise them right when the child was young. I liked to see ALL parents get their act together realizing reality public schools are doing nothing improving a parent’s children cause all this Equity matters will do nothing teaching the child to take care of themselves so they can be more useful to help and assist their aging parent in the twos old age.

    8. OK, even if and I do hope this fails, White students need to file discrimination complaint when harassed by others, against teachers that go after a white kid. I’d even extend that to Asian students.
      If the socialist are so upset about discrimination then lets show that it goes all ways and we aren’t going to put up with it! Do that gender as well, especially white boys and girls!

    9. There are various home schooling options on the peninsula as well as at least two private schools in the Soldotna area. I teach in one, and we are having a hard time keeping up with enrollment. I’m not sure whether or not there are any other private schools in Seward or Homer at the present time.
      In my opinion, parents who send their children to public schools in this day and age are either not paying attention, they already support the agenda of ‘woke-ism”, or they just don’t care to be bothered. But there are a good many parents who are becoming aware that the general environment and curricula of the local schools are not friendly to traditional families, and they are pulling their children out.
      Many KPBSD teachers are fairly conservative, but many of the “old guard” have been retiring and the liberals and liberalism are beginning to infiltrate. We’ll see what happens with the new superintendent coming on line this fall, but my guess is that, though slower than elsewhere, the local schools will follow the general trend of public education in our country.

    Leave a reply

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Donate

    Alaska Watchman relies on the generous support of our readers. All donations go directly to supporting and expanding our news coverage. Please consider becoming a regular supporter.

    $

    Stay Informed

    Receive breaking stories and analysis from the Alaska Watchman directly to your inbox for free.

    No spam ever. Guaranteed.

    Latest articles

    News tips