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Demonstrators strife over District 11 proposed pronoun policy

The proposed policy would not allow teachers or staff to ask students about their pronouns
"Asking pronouns saves lives"
Posted at 10:26 PM, Mar 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-09 00:27:41-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — District 11 is considering adopting a "pronoun policy" that would not allow teachers or school staff to ask students about their preferred pronouns. Today, demonstrators for and against that policy held rallies outside the District 11 administration building.

That policy was introduced by the school board Vice President Jason Jorgenson in early February and caused students to walk out of school in protest.

Liss Smith is the Communications Director of Inside Out Youth Services, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group. She says the nonprofit is standing behind students who are against the policy.

"When a teacher asks a student for their pronouns, they're creating a safe space for them. They're saying without saying it 'I'm a safe adult, you can tell me who you are, and I'll do my best to respect that, even if I make mistakes along the way'," said Smith.

After their demonstrations outside of the administration building, members from the two groups went inside to give public comment during a regular school board meeting.

Joel Sorenson is for the policy. He signed up to give comments after being inspired by reading a guest article from the Gazette written by a District 11 student.

"I think it's an issue of privacy," said Sorenson. "I think that it's important that students that may not either: A. Agree with that ideology, what that ideology assumes, or B. May not feel comfortable for whatever reason to give their pronouns or be compelled to do so".

Another District 11 student, Michelangelo Krewson, also gave a public comment to the school board, bringing up his experience with harassment. He thinks that the responsibility of asking
about pronouns should lie with teachers, and not students.

"It is rather uncomfortable to have to go up to teachers and say "this is my name, these are my pronouns" and still, either way, we're never 100% they're going to use them. But if this were to go through, then we would have to make the first decision and we'd have no protection if they repeatedly and continuously used the wrong pronouns," said Krewson.

Right now, this policy has not been voted on yet by the District 11 school board. It is set to be reviewed by a subcommittee next month.

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