Three representatives of the Rehoboth Beach, Del., LGBT community center CAMP Rehoboth appeared on Jan. 25 before a meeting of the Cape Henlopen Board of Education to urge the board to support a sweeping school nondiscrimination policy proposed last year by Delaware Gov. John Carney.
The Cape Henlopen School District, which the board oversees, operates public and charter schools in Rehoboth Beach and nearby Lewes, Del. The two beach towns have a large number of LGBT residents and summer visitors.
The CAMP Rehoboth representatives that spoke at the meeting – attorney and LGBT activist Mark Purpura, LGBT rights advocate Beth Cohen, and transgender rights advocate Kathy Carpenter Brown – called on board members to embrace Regulation 225, a comprehensive nondiscrimination policy that Carney has asked the state’s Department of Education to develop with input from the public.
Among other things, the proposal calls for the state’s public and charter schools to allow students to use locker rooms and join sports teams consistent with their gender identity. It would ban school-related discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, among other categories.
Carney has said he would like local school boards throughout the state to adopt a form of the policy that is appropriate for local communities. He has not said whether the state would make adopting the policy mandatory.
“CAMP Rehoboth supports Regulation 225 and we encourage the school board to support Regulation 225,” Purpura said during a part of the meeting reserved for public comment. “The regulation is a comprehensive and very reasonable nondiscrimination regulation and policy that is inclusive as to various protective characteristics, including characteristics based on gender identity and gender expression.”
Andy Lewis, president of the Cape Henlopen school board, said that because the comments by the CAMP Rehoboth representatives were made during an open public comment period and were not part of the board’s official agenda, the board could not discuss taking action on the issue during that meeting.
CAMP Rehoboth official Sal Seeley, who attended the meeting, said opponents of the proposed school policy spoke against it at the school board’s meeting in December.