‘Woke’ Transgender and LGBTQ+ Policies Under Fire in Oregon School District

By Scottie Barnes
Scottie Barnes
Scottie Barnes
As founding editor of GeoIntelligence and Geospatial Solutions and editor in chief of GPS World, Scottie Barnes has examined the implications of public policy and emerging technologies on areas ranging from homeland security and national defense to forestry and urban planning. She now provides breaking news and investigative reporting from the Pacific Northwest for readers of The Epoch Times.
April 6, 2022 Updated: April 11, 2022

Republican gubernatorial candidate and mayor of Sandy, Oregon, Stan Pulliam has called out what he describes as a “radical agenda” in the second-largest school district in the state.

Salem-Keizer’s Public School’s new LGBTQ+ policies “encourage teachers to embrace the brilliance of the LGBTQ+ community.” Its K-12 curriculum will “work to include gender and sexuality diversity in ways relevant to the subjects taught.”

“While Salem-Keizer students are struggling to catch up from two years of their schools failing to get them an adequate education, administrators are now implementing a new agenda on our kids that has nothing to do with learning and everything to do with woke personal agendas,” Pulliam wrote on his campaign website on April 5.

The district’s new policies include allowing students in K-12 to use the gendered bathrooms and locker rooms of their choosing and letting students pick the gendered sports team of their choice with no conditions.

Students are “eligible for the team that most aligns with their gender identity, regardless of whether the student has undergone any medical gender-affirming treatment,” and staff, teachers, and administrators “may not ask a student—in this context or any other—whether the student has undergone such treatment,” according to the policy document obtained by The Epoch Times.

“Athletes will also be given access to the same facilities as their teammates.”

“This kind of woke agenda has no place in our schools,” continued Pulliam.

“My daughters—just like everyone else’s—deserve fairness by playing on sports teams with other girls. They deserve the privacy of changing rooms and bathrooms with girls only.

“Schools have no business telling kindergarteners they can pick the gender and the bathroom of their choosing. It’s absurd and it’s not their job. Parents know best, not school district administrators. Period.”

In addition, the district’s health classes will feature “accurate information about the scientific realities of sex and gender” and “all educators will use trans and intersex-inclusive terminology in relation to sex and human biology.”

The Salem-Keizer policies further include a process to help students with gender transitioning as well as changing their name and gender designation without notifying parents.

The plan also outlines how to respond to staff if they fail to use the right pronouns or support the student’s transition plan.

The new policies require introducing a “gender and sexuality diversity” curriculum starting in kindergarten, and “ensuring that all school libraries offer books and/or resources about gender identity and sexuality, including informational books and inclusive narratives from a wide variety of authors from diverse and intersectional backgrounds.”

The district now supports social activism and will allow staff to “show visible allyship to focus groups,” through such outward symbols as “gay pride flags and pronoun buttons,” at school.

“These district policies were three years in the making,” Sylvia McDaniel, director of communications and community relations for Salem-Keizer’s Public School told the Epoch Times in an email.

“We took that much time to first and foremost ensure that no child is harmed regardless of who they are and to provide opportunities for staff and student input,” she explained.

But there was no indication of parent input and the leaked documents outlining the new policies, which were obtained by The Epoch Times, had not been shared publicly even though district teachers and staff were being trained to implement them on April 28.

“The documents are for staff and internal operations,” McDaniel explained when The Epoch Times requested them. The Salem-Keizer Communications Department then suggested that The Epoch Times file a Freedom of Information Act request.

“The fact that this agenda is being pushed in Oregon schools without involving the public or even the elected school board tells you just how radical it is,” said MacKensey Pulliam, wife of Stan Pulliam and president and co-founder of the Oregon Moms Union. “Parents have a right to know and to sound off.”

This issue of transgender restroom access was decided in Oregon in 2018 when a federal judge ruled that students can use the restrooms of their choice.

In 2020, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, saying it was necessary “to avoid discrimination and ensure the safety and well-being of transgender students.”

The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) previously established a policy allowing schools to determine which gender-specific team their students may join.

“There is no avoiding what is to come,” Jenny Maguire wrote on the Oregon Moms Union Facebook page.

“It’s no longer a rumor or isolated incident. It’s a methodical, intentional implementation that permeates all aspects of our schools, the education our children will receive, and the sports opportunities/scholarships our daughters will have.”

As founding editor of GeoIntelligence and Geospatial Solutions and editor in chief of GPS World, Scottie Barnes has examined the implications of public policy and emerging technologies on areas ranging from homeland security and national defense to forestry and urban planning. She now provides breaking news and investigative reporting from the Pacific Northwest for readers of The Epoch Times.