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Maine school board members face recall votes over support for gender identity policy

The rules would also require educators to address students by their preferred name and pronouns.

Published: November 23, 2022 7:45pm

Updated: November 23, 2022 8:24pm

Two Maine school board members are facing recall after voting for a controversial policy that would require schools to withhold a student's gender identity from parents unless the student consents to that notification.

Oxford Hills School District school board members Julia Lester and Sarah Otterson were two of 12 board members who voted to approve the policy on a provisional basis last month, according to the Daily Wire.

The pair represent the town of Paris, which makes up just part of the school district. The school district covers eight elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school with a total of roughly 3,400 students.

In an emergency school board meeting on Monday, the body voted to put the issue to voters after more than 700 people signed petitions demanding Lester and Otterson's removal. The recall will likely take place in January or February.

The rules would also require educators to address students by their preferred name and pronouns. Schools would also be required to coach students on hiding their gender identity from their parents.

Moreover, students would be able to use the single-gender bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity rather than their biological sex.

Some proponents of the recall took particular exception to the parental notification provisions of the policy at the Monday meeting.

"Two people on the board was promoting policies that interfered with a parent's right to know. Us parents have had enough. That policy promoted secrecy," Armand Norton, the recall's organizer, contended, per the Wire. "Parents are the first line of defense if something happens to the kid; the parents are responsible for them, not the school."

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