(KFOR NEWS August 24, 2022) At Tuesday’s Lincoln Board of Education meeting, the first one since classes started back up, LPS Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman took a moment to address some controversy and confusion regarding LGBTQ+ topics in the district.
Dr. Gausman addressed two big items. One being concerns about whether a certain book was available in LPS school libraries and the other, a mandatory staff learning session for LPS employees like counselors and school nurses to better help transgender students and others.
Dr. Gausman’s first board of education meeting for the school year started by addressing mandatory staff training that took place on Aug. 10 and what the guest speaker, transgender author Ryan Sallans, allegedly talked about, something that has been the focal point of a complaint made in a woman’s social media posts.
Prior to Public Comment, Dr. Gausman addressed some information circulating about a staff learning session.
“It has been reliably reported to me by several staff members that the speaker did not say the quote attributed to him. However, given that there still seems to be some disagreement about what was actually said, I will be looking into this further and try to get a sense of what some staff members feel they heard,” said Gausman.
He added, “I firmly believe that our staff members are trained professionals dedicated to doing what’s best for kids. Being new to Lincoln Public Schools, this is an opportunity for me to review our practices when choosing presenters. If we are going to be true to our mission of ‘all means all,’ we may need to consider our speakers through a wider lens. There is always room for us to do better.”
Dr. Gausman went on to say that LPS is legally and morally obligated to provide appropriate training to staff to ensure that all students have access to programs and activities free from harassment, bullying, and exclusion.
Dr. Gausman added, “LPS does NOT condone, support or promote sexual activity among our students. However, we are also parents and don’t want anybody’s children engaging in risky or inappropriate behaviors. Therefore, we do our best to ensure that any content for students and staff will be appropriate and in line with our policies and curriculum. If we find that an invited speaker is not in-line, they will not be invited back.
“We believe school staff members must recognize the importance of the parent/child relationship and the right of the parent to make decisions for their minor child. Parents know what’s best for their children, and our strongest desire is to partner with parents and guardians in providing their children with the best and most appropriate educational opportunities,” said Dr. Gausman.
Dr. Gausman also commented on concerns about the book “Gender Queer”, which was mentioned in a tweet from the Nebraska GOP. He said, to his knowledge, that book is not offered in LPS libraries.