Despite Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio’s assurances under oath (oath taken at 28:50) before the August 1 Interim Joint Committee on Education that Jefferson County Public Schools “will pass a policy that… um… follows state law…,” (promise made at 1:10:55) he recommended to the Board of Education on August 7 that it adopt a policy that came nowhere close to doing so.
Version #3 of related Board Policies 08.13531, 09.141, 09.22, 09.13 and 09.14 spends no less than a quarter of its length expressing the Board’s dissent over Senate Bill 150’s commonsense protections and intimidating staff with threats of disciplinary action, termination, and revocation of certification if they follow state law.
But the adopted Version #3 policy goes beyond expressing dissent to Senate Bill 150, it blatantly fails to follow the law. The policy recommended by Pollio and adopted by the board on August 7 violates his promise made under oath in multiple ways:
1) The JCPS policy fails to prohibit instruction in gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation during K-12 as required by KRS 158.1415(1)(d) and Opinion of the Attorney General (OAG 23- 04).
2) The JCPS policy significantly undermines student privacy and safety rights, clearly violating KRS 158.189(2)(e), KRS 158.189(3), and KRS 158.189(4), by allowing those with gender dysphoria to violate commonsense protections regarding inherently private restroom and locker room facilities.
3) On pages 13-15, the JCPS policy intentionally seeks to undermine KRS 158.191(5)(c)’s protection of the First Amendment rights of teachers and other staff through repeated threats of disciplinary action designed to intimidate them into not exercising their rights.
4) Page 14 of the JCPS policy intentionally seeks to undermine KRS 158.191(5)(a)’s clear requirements that no policy or procedure keep any student information confidential from parents by threatening teachers with disciplinary action if they follow state law.
Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio certainly hasn’t kept the promise that he made to legislators under oath. JCPS has not, by any stretch of the imagination, enacted a policy following state law. In practical effect, Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio’s recommended Version #3 sends the exact same message as the passage of the JCPS Board’s July 25 resolution “declin[ing] to adopt policies to implement Senate Bill 150.”
Written by Michael Johnson, Sr. Policy Advisor