Charleston Co. School Board discusses ban on ‘sexually charged topics’

The Charleston Co. School District is discussing a policy that would ban teachers from talking about sex, sexual orientation and other gender fluidity topics.
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 7:03 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District is discussing a policy that would ban teachers from talking about sex, sexual orientation and other gender fluidity topics at schools.

The agenda item says this topic is in anticipation of a state law, that if passed would ban discussion of sexual identity and related topics in schools. The agenda item is so that the district can create a policy ready to put in place, if the bill passes.

The House bill leaves the decision up to parents’ discretion, saying school districts must take action to promote parental involvement before any policies are put in place.

The bill says parents have the ultimate responsibility to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children.

The agenda item explains, the school policy would be that staff are not allowed to refer to people by pronouns not associated with their official ID. Staff could not “engage in dialog with any student on topics regarding sexual choices, sexual preferences or gender fluidity” or “engage in dialog with any student about preferred pronouns of the student or staff member.”

We Are Family is an LGBTQ friendly organization. Jonatan Guerrero Ramirez, the community events director says this bill and policy are harmful to some students and not a good use of resources when there are other real issues in schools.

“Our students come to us, a lot of even their straight allies will come to us and say, ‘Why are we having this discussion? Why are we focusing on this when there is a teacher shortage? Why are we focusing on this where we should be focusing on passing our grades?’” Ramirez says. “This is just a waste of time and it’s honestly really sad that these youth are telling us that the adults are being the ones that are acting childish right now.”

The agenda item does say the conversations may be banned except as needed for health classes or student psychological support. It also says the board will work with legal teams and stakeholders to make sure children are supported and protected. Ramirez says We Are Family will continue to support kids in any way they can.

“Take books away, we’re going to offer those books to those youths. If schools take away people’s pronouns, then we’re going to give students pronoun pins to wear proudly in their schools. If schools take away rights for our trans youth, then we’re going to fight for those rights for trans youth. We Are Family has been here since 1985. And we’re not going to go anywhere anytime soon,” Ramirez says.