Paso Robles school board divided on gender-specific titles resolution



Gender has been a flashpoint at the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District, and the most recent school board meeting was no different.

The conversation at that meeting followed an Aug. 23 meeting when the board introduced a resolution stating that the district wouldn't support any mandate replacing traditional gender specific titles such as Mr. and Mrs. The board voted to adopt the resolution, but on Sept. 13, board member Nathan Williams introduced a rewritten, more inclusive version of the that resolution.

STILL TALKING GENDER The Paso school board discussed another resolution about gender on Sept. 13, but declined to adopt it after a split vote. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • File Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • STILL TALKING GENDER The Paso school board discussed another resolution about gender on Sept. 13, but declined to adopt it after a split vote.

Williams said that the new resolution would be a way to correct the initial resolution, which he said was based on a false mandate—it was a response to a leaked but unadopted proposal from National Educators Association regarding LGBTQ-plus inclusive language.

"I have brought this resolution forward to give our board the opportunity to reaffirm our support for not only traditional titles, but all titles as appropriate when it comes to how some choose to identify," Williams said. "It's an opportunity to not only be inclusive of all but to reaffirm our efforts in adhering to what is already state law and in our district administrative regulations."

Williams' resolution was met with opposition from his colleagues, with board member Dorian Baker saying it would confuse students.

"This resolution proposed by my colleague trustee Williams does not stand in isolation as part of something necessary to affirm our students," Baker said. "It is part of a continuum of changes, part of a social upheaval that will continue to confuse children and tear families apart."

Baker's comments were echoed by a majority of the public, such as Burt Baker who spoke during public comment and received raucous applause.

"Mr. Williams' resolution wants everyone to play their role. In the celebration using pronouns and non gender-specific words that align to anyone's peculiar identity. At what age do we start teaching our children to accept the lie to accept groupthink knowing they will be bullied and condemned for not submitting? The age is when they arrive at public school to hide their contempt for our traditions, values, or families that the woke use scholarly words like respect and dignity," Baker said.

Board members Baker, Lance Gannon, and Frank Triggs voted against the resolution, tying the vote and resulting in no decision about gender specific titles. The resolution adopted on Aug. 23 still stands. 

Board member Chris Arend indicated that he thought it was best for the board to stay out of issues like these.

"I like the idea of letting the culture develop and evolve out there without the board of trustees putting its hand on the thing," Arend said. Δ

Correction: The original version of this story misrepresented the vote that took place during an Aug. 23 school board meeting. Paso Robles Joint Unified School District voted 4-3 at that meeting to pass the resolution regarding gender-specific titles. New Times regrets the error.


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