Ohio: Approved Bill Requires Genital Inspection For Student-Athletes To Prohibit Trans Kids From Playing Sports

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Legislators passed the anti-trans law late on June 1st, the first night of Pride Month celebrations. Originally, Republicans planned to vote on changing Ohio’s teacher residency program, but at the last minute they inserted a ban on transgender athletes, according to ABC station WEWS News 5 in Cleveland.

To comply with the new rule, schools, public universities, and private institutions would have to create “single-sex” athletic teams for men and women or have co-ed teams instead. Under the proposed legislation, students whose “sex is disputed” would be required to provide a doctor’s declaration certifying their “internal and external reproductive anatomy.” This doctor would also need to do an “analysis of the participant’s genetic makeup” and verify that the student had “normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone.” If a transgender girl or woman wants to participate in girls’ sports in Ohio, they must complete a minimum of one year of hormone therapy or show that they lack any physical or physiological advantages.

According to Equality Ohio and the Ohio High School Athletic Association, there is just one transgender female presently competing in high school sports in the whole state (OSHAA).

According to Democratic state lawmaker Dr. Beth Liston, “never more than one” transgender student has competed on a high school girls’ team in the “last seven years that the OSHAA transgender policy has been in place.” “There are not scores of girls’ dreams being crushed; there is one child trying to play on their high school sports team,” Liston said. “This is a made-up controversy and this amendment is state-sanctioned bullying against one child.”

“Disturbing” parts of the measure were subsequently slammed by Liston, who is also a physician, for “discussing bills focusing on children’s genitals.”

Equality Ohio said in a statement that legislators’ efforts to “undermine” the LGBTQ+ community on “multiple fronts” were “appalling” on the opening day of Pride Month.

“Health and safety” of Ohio’s youth is “not negotiable,” according to Equality Ohio executive director Alana Jochum.  “This should not be a partisan issue, and we are appalled that our lawmakers are once again causing real harm to LGBTQ+ youth to score political points,” Jochum said. “All Ohio youth deserve the opportunity to play on a sports team with their peers without having to hide who they are.” 

Cathryn Oakley, the Human Rights Campaign’s state legislative director and senior counsel, said Ohioans deserve “better than this shortsighted, discriminatory bill that will do real harm” to trans youth. “Transgender students have participated in sports consistent with their gender identity for decades in states around the country, and there’s no actual problem here that needs addressing: this bill is about targeting transgender youth for perceived political gain, not about strengthening women’s sports or helping Ohio’s youth,” Oakley said. “It’s especially shameful that extremist politicians passed this legislation in the dead of night before leaving town until the fall.”

Governor Mike DeWine should “make clear” that he would utilize veto authority in order to overturn the trans sports ban, according to Oakley.

The anti-trans bill is now on its way to the Ohio Senate, which won’t convene again until November, when it returns from break.

Ohio: Gov. DeWine Looks To Sign Bill Requiring Just 24 Hours Of Training For Teachers To Carry Firearms

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Teachers in Ohio may soon be permitted to carry weapons in their classrooms after just 24 hours of training. State lawmakers advanced a measure Wednesday that would ease the training requirements for teachers who want to carry weapons. Governor Mike DeWine has stated he intends to sign it into law.

It has been revised to require school personnel who carry weapons to undergo up to 24 hours of training, followed by yearly re-certification training.

A week after the killing of 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Democrats say the idea, which is optional for schools, sends the wrong message. Republicans claim that if passed, the law will serve to prevent future mass shootings. The proposal was rushed through the legislative process in order to counteract a court judgement that said that under present law, armed school staff would require hundreds of hours of training.

According to the proposal, the Ohio Department of Public Safety would establish the Ohio School Safety and Crisis Center. Each district would submit a plan for weapons training to the new center for review and approval. Individual school districts would be responsible for covering the cost of the training. A yearly background check for all school employees would be mandated by law.

Major law enforcement organizations, gun control campaigners, and the state’s teachers unions have all requested Governor DeWine to reject the bill, which he has refused to do so far.  As a more effective means of preventing mass shootings in schools, Democratic lawmakers, law enforcement, and many others have argued that arming teachers is the wrong option.

Juanita Brent, D-Cleveland, claimed that “this is not what the people asked for, and I have receipts from moms, dads,” individuals in her neighborhood, and students in her district. “They’re not asking for no guns. They’re asking for background checks.”

The state of Ohio enables school districts to determine whether or not their employees may carry guns, but the topic of how much training is legally necessary has been debated for years.

School workers in Ohio must either have 20 years of experience or have completed about 728 hours of peace officer training before they are allowed to carry a pistol on school grounds, as the Ohio Supreme Court declared in June 2021.

There would have to be at least four hours of training in scenario-based or simulated training exercises if DeWine signed the measure into law.

The bill’s wording makes it unclear if certain school districts would need more training than others.

According to the proposed legislation, training for unarmed security guards and private investigators would follow the same authorisation procedures as those for armed security guards. Handgun training is required for 20 hours and any other weapon for five. However, the law adds that “nothing in this section prohibits a school district board of education or governing body of a school from requiring additional training.”

According to the Council of State Governments, more than 30 states considered legislation pertaining to the arming of school personnel in 2013, the year after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. A similar legislation was enacted in the wake of the 2018 school massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

Ohio: Lawmakers Suggest Making Self-Defense Classes Obligatory

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New legislation proposed by some legislators would require all students in Ohio to complete self-defense courses. Known as the “Student Protection Act,” the legislation seeks to safeguard students from potential harm.

School resource officers or other qualified instructors will be required to provide self-defense programs at high schools if the bill is enacted.

According to the legislation, students would have to take these classes in order to graduate. The reforms would begin with the class of 2027. Republican lawmakers Tom Young and Andrea White introduced the measure.

Pre-K for All Children In Ohio Is The Goal Of One Lawmaker

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Some lawmakers in Ohio want to provide access to preschool for all three- and four-year-olds in the state in the near future.

Ohio Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) proposed Senate Bill 318 in March that mandates the creation of a statewide, universal pre-K program if Congress provides funds for it, according to the bill’s language.

Senate Bill 318 is dependent on President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which has yet to be implemented and whose future is uncertain. According to Fedor’s website, if legislators adopt the idea, Ohio will get $3.3 billion for expanding daycare and establishing a universal pre-K program for 3- and 4-year-olds.

A universal pre-K program hasn’t been ironed out, but Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) believes that offering free preschool to Ohioans is worth it, no matter how much money it will take to implement it.

“Universal pre-K, whatever the cost is, outweighs what the price tag is because the return on the investment of our children is so high,” Antonio, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said.

According to a White House press release, just around 31% of Ohio’s preschool-aged children have access to a publicly financed pre-K program, costing families without such access $8,600 per year.

The White House estimates that if Biden’s pen touches the ink of his pen and Ohio’s Republican-dominated legislatures compel the governor to accept the federal cash, pre-K classroom doors would open to an extra 151,000 children in the state.

A staunch supporter of universal pre-K, Antonio maintained that kids who attend preschool are more likely to graduate and less likely to engage in drug addiction and criminality.

Also, Antonio believes that universal pre-K would help get more parents back to work since COVID-19 closed down many employment options for them.

Most moms with children under the age of five who are either part-time or jobless would return to work if they could obtain excellent, affordable daycare, according to a poll conducted by Groundwork Ohio in 2021.

As Antonio put it, “if we’re going to develop the workforce of tomorrow, it begins with our tiny pre-K kids today.”

It’s not assured that universal pre-K will have major short- and long-term advantages for pupils, according to Greg Lawson, a research fellow at the conservative Buckeye Institute.

By year six of the Build Back Better plan, states are obliged to provide 40 percent of the federal funds for pre-K programs, which is a problem for Lawson.

“The data is ambiguous in terms of what the actual benefit is,” Lawson said. “There’s a cost concern, but above and beyond the cost concern, is universal pre-K the right way to spend money, or are there more targeted options to better help students who are at risk or need additional resources?”

For example, a Vanderbilt University research team evaluated over 3,000 children from low-income households who were either randomly allocated to pre-K programs or maintained on a waiting control group in 2022. Lawson referred to this study as an example.

As a result of the research, individuals who attended pre-K in third through sixth grade did worse than those who were placed on a waitlist. According to a new research, children in pre-K are more likely to be reprimanded and attend school less often than their classmates.

“I think it’s going to be challenging that they’re going to put in that kind of money, again, on something where there’s sort of a mixed bag of evidence,” Lawson said.

In the end, Lawson said he would only support a pre-K program if it is based on solid research and is tailored specifically to meet the requirements of Ohio kids.

In spite of the fact that pre-advantages K’s may be difficult to discern, Jamie O’Leary noted that generally, the evidence suggests that children who attend pre-K are more likely to succeed than their counterparts who don’t.

“Overall, we know children benefit in terms of kindergarten readiness, social-emotional skills, a variety of indicators that help them succeed,” O’Leary, associate director of policy for Ohio State University’s early childhood research centers, the Crane Center and Schoenbaum Family Center, said.

Since its beginning, a Columbus universal pre-K program has shown positive outcomes for children — an encouraging indication considering that six out of ten Ohio preschoolers do not demonstrate kindergarten preparedness based on state criteria, said O’Leary.

On the city’s website, Early Start Columbus, a joint effort by Mayor Michael Nutter and the Columbus Department of Education, links families with pre-K programs for free or discounted fees.

After looking at data from 540 4-year-olds who participated in Early Start Columbus-affiliated early childhood programs between 2018 and 2019, researchers found that 85% of the children showed signs of being ready for kindergarten, compared to a state average of 59% of Ohioans who have already started school.

“High-quality pre-K is one way to get kids ready for kindergarten,” O’Leary said.

O’Leary stated the most important aspect in determining the quality of a preschool program is how well teachers are supported.

“Low wages, burnout, turnover, and morale issues,” she said. “How are we paying folks in a way that’s sustainable and investing in them and the skills that they bring as carers and nurturers and teachers?”

According to the Ohio Legislature’s website, the Senate Primary and Secondary Education Committee has yet to hold a hearing on SB 318.

K-12 Substitute Teachers In Ohio’s Schools May No Longer Be Required To Have A College Degree

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Considerably before the pandemic, getting a substitute teacher for an Ohio school was a challenge. Now, it’s even more difficult.

An advanced version of a house bill might ease some of the burden. However, despite the fact that not everyone is content, there is a desire for some alleviation that is shared by all parties.

Schools began to offer more money, and Ohio legislators responded by expanding the pool of available substitute instructors. If House Bill 583 becomes law, the larger pool will remain open longer.

Overworked educators say they’ve had a difficult time throughout the pandemic. Schools throughout the nation are having difficulty attracting teachers, according to an Education Week Research Center report.

Even before the pandemic, “substitute teachers have always been a challenge, but it was a challenge before and it continues to be a challenge throughout the pandemic,” NOCS Superintendent David Brand said.

Staffing shortages plague Brand and his faculty, he added.

Principals and administrators are “teaching throughout the week and day,” he added. In order to ensure that our children are cared for and taught on a daily basis, many instructors sacrifice their lunch breaks and other free time.

In order to rectify this, the bill HB 583 has his support.

The initiative would enable school districts to use replacements without college degrees. It’s possible, as long as they complete the school’s educational criteria, pass a criminal background check, and are of “high moral character.”

This implies “anything the board of education decides,” says bill author Rep. Adam Bird, a Republican from New Richmond when asked what moral character is. “Local authority and power, in my opinion, should be given to the people. They have a greater understanding of their community’s norms and the individuals in it than I do. If we can, we want to hand as much control and responsibility over as possible to the local school boards.”

A bachelor’s degree or post-secondary education was required for subs before the pandemic. Due to COVID-19, the regulations had been eased, although this was meant to be a short-term fix.

Students would be able to attend lessons throughout the whole school year without interruption if the law is passed, according to Bird.

For the National School Lunch Program, it allocates $338 million in federal monies.

To that end, the legislator proposed a two-year extension of the current deadline. Our goal is to allow school districts the freedom to do what they believe is best for their students’ education and retention.

Brand has a personal connection to this bill, and he likes it because of it.

“I went to undergraduate school in Michigan and it was similar there, so I was able to substitute teach while going to undergrad to become a teacher,” the educator said. “So that gave great opportunities for me as a young person trying to become a teacher — but it also helped the district.

“We’ve seen that here, too.”

There has been a rise in the number of substitute instructors in recent years, according to Bird, a former school administrator.

The measure was debated in the House and approved with a majority of 80-10 despite some opposition.

Melissa Cropper, the president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers, wishes there were stricter standards, such as a college degree or previous experience working with children. She is aware, though, of a problem.

To really cover a classroom while a teacher is absent, “it actually enables for nearly anyone to become a substitute teacher, which in some ways is a tremendous concern for us,” Cropper said. “Our lack of rigorous criteria for substitute teachers is causing an issue in the classroom. Our teachers who are there every day are being expected to take on new tasks, and that’s simply making their work even more difficult. We know this.”

There must be a time limit on how long this will last, according to her. She went on to say that it should never go beyond the next two years.

Despite the fact that “this is making a horrific situation a little less dreadful, but in a manner that has the potential to be incredibly harmful,” she added. “Currently, anybody above the age of 18 is permitted to attend classes. It’s my opinion that there should be some limitations on this based on the user’s age.”

Bird agreed, saying he wouldn’t want it either.

According to the official, “I would never agree that it’s appropriate to have a 19-year-old high school graduate as a substitute teacher,” the representative said. “This will enable a local school board to say, “You know that soccer mom, she coaches the soccer team. You know that 35-year-old soccer mom, she’s now in school as a kindergartener.

The second guy is a baseball coach who has experience working with children and may be useful on a daily basis.’

As he goes on to suggest, the replacements may be Sunday school teachers, vacation Bible school instructors, or even members of the community like recently released veterans.

This does not imply, he said, that they will be creating lesson plans. For the time being, “they’re basically here to keep things moving.”

That made Cropper nervous.

There’s a perception that “we are employing babysitters rather than replacement instructors,” she added. “As a result of this law, people may conclude that we just need a babysitter throughout the day. We don’t want that long-term impression. When a teacher isn’t there, students need to be able to continue on their learning or at least retain some level of it.”

Bird argued that having a class was preferable than having none at all. But he did hear the concerns and introduced an amendment to the bill that would form a research group to investigate the source of the scarcity of replacement instructors.

There may be ways to increase the number of substitute instructors in Ohio, he said.

A few things that Bird and Cropper agreed on: treating replacement instructors with dignity and ensuring that they are compensated adequately.

If we can assist folks get back on their feet and improve their chances of becoming teachers, it’s a win-win situation for everyone, Brand added. As a result, “I would advise everyone to look into it and help make a difference in the lives of youngsters.”

The Senate’s Primary and Secondary Education Committee is presently debating the measure. In order to pass it, it must proceed even quicker in the Senate than in the House. The law must be signed by Gov. Mike DeWine by mid-May in order to take effect for the next school year.

Gay Teacher Loses Job After Explaining Pride Bracelet to Students

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Students from Huntington Local High School demonstrated in favor of LGBTQ rights and a gay teacher who had lost his job.

Jay Bowman has worked as a substitute teacher in a Huntington school for the past thirty years.

Several females approached Bowman and inquired about the rainbow-colored First Capital PRIDE bracelet he was wearing.

“If a kid has questions. If a kid wants honesty, I don’t think I should be forbidden from providing that,” said Bowman.

Peter Ruby, the superintendent of the school district, refused to answer questions from ABC 6 on camera. However, the district issued a statement claiming that Bowman had broken school policy:

“To our Huntington Local Schools students, staff and families, Huntington Local Schools is committed to maintaining a welcoming and inclusive community for our students, teachers and staff. Those values guide us, and our district does not discriminate in our hiring practices. It is important for you to know that our Board policies restrict staff from discussing with students certain subjects, including political, religious and personal beliefs. This past week, we received reports with specific concerns about possible violations of those policies by a substitute teacher in the district. After a brief investigation, we confirmed, by the substitute’s own admissions, that he violated board policies by speaking to students about political and religious topics, as well as distributing bracelets. As a result of his violation of board policies, the district decided his services as a substitute would no longer be utilized. While we recognize there are diverse points of view on this matter, this policy exists for the purpose of ensuring all students feel comfortable in the classroom. Our district has a continuing and firm commitment to support our LGBTQIA+ students, teachers and staff. We understand that a demonstration of support may be planned for Monday to raise awareness about LGBTQIA+ issues. Student-led expression is permitted so long as there is no disruption to the education of students. The district encourages compassion and respect for everyone in our school community. I welcome any organizer to contact me directly at pete.ruby@huntsmen.org so that any demonstration of support is peaceful and orderly, and all students feel comfortable and welcome. Thank you for your continued support of our district as we work to ensure an environment of acceptance and belonging for all.”

“I don’t try to recruit anyone,” Bowman said Monday. “The parents are responsible for the kids. The parents are the ones who need to teach their kids right and wrong.”

“I think the reaction to my violation when compared to other instances in the school where certain things are tolerated was unfair,” said Bowman. “Huntington Township is by in large a conservative area and human rights are not a foreign entity at all but it is outside the comfort level of a lot of people.”

“I know I have opened a can of worms. I know I started a discussion. I trust the members of this community know I did that with no ill intent,” Bowman said.

“We are saying that it is not okay to be out. It’s not okay to be gay or queer or LGBTQ. Or if you are out about there will be consequences,” Daniel Matthews, with First Capital PRIDE, said.

Bowman claims that approximately 40 former students and athletes have come forward throughout his teaching tenure. “Huntington is my home. it is where I got my first teaching job. It is everything to me. It just is. I love this community I love this school.”

“I was taught that God doesn’t make junk. I am not junk, I am Jay,” Bowman said.

Both sides were riled up by the rally at the school. Bowman believes it proves that he, as well as LGBTQ kids, are not alone. “It is important that everyone’s voice be heard. “My mantra has become, and there is, there is place at the table for everyone,” Bowman explained.

Some residents have expressed their desire for the school board’s policy to be reconsidered. It will be discussed at the board meeting on April 11th.

The article was paraphrased from the following: Chillicothe area gay teacher loses job after he gives Pride bracelets to students, Lu Ann Stoia, Tuesday, March 29th 2022, https://abc6onyourside.com/news/local/chillicothe-area-gay-teacher-loses-job-after-he-gives-pride-bracelets-to-students