Bentonville School Board Votes Against Revising EEO Policy

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) — The Bentonville Board of Education voted against revising its EEO policy in a four to two vote Monday evening (August 17), according to the NWA Center for Equality.

Chaz Allen with the equality center said the vote was to determine whether the board should clarify the word “sex” in the policy as referring to sexual orientation and gender identity.

Allen released the following statement:

“For months, Bentonville Schools has debated whether or not to explicitly state that every employee is equally protected regardless of parental status, veteran status, sexual orientation and gender identity. We are disappointed that Bentonville Public Schools continues to cling to policies of the past when other school districts, companies and communities are moving forward. A qualified teacher should never be told that her rights are only implied, especially if the rights of her colleagues are clearly defined. Because the school board lacks the courage to adopt a policy clearly granting the same protections to all of its employees, we ask that the district immediately issue a district-wide memo clarifying that “sex” as listed in its equal opportunity employment policy does indeed cover sexual orientation and gender identity, and that the district does not tolerate discrimination on those grounds. We also ask the district to incorporate training that specifies that its definition of sex includes these classes.

We appreciate board members Greg Lightle and Matt Burgess for standing up for all Bentonville School District employees and supporting true inclusion.”

Representatives from the Board of Education were unavailable for comment.