Grants Pass educators ‘not at work’ after speaking out against proposed LGBTQ+ bill

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Grants Pass School District tells NBC5 News two of its educators are not at work after making controversial comments online. The educators – an administrator and a teacher at North Middle School – posted a video online urging the community to speak out against a proposed Oregon bill. The bill would require the state to develop and implement a statewide education plan for students who identify as LGBTQ+.

Rachel Damiano is an Assistant Principal and Katie Medart is a 7th-grade teacher at North Middle School in Grants Pass. Last week, they took to social media where they say they are starting a movement.

The ‘I Resolve‘ movement asks local, state, and federal leaders to adopt several principles and policies, including that there are two anatomical gender presentations, male and female.

“Instead of being a gender identity issue when it comes to bathrooms and locker rooms, making it about anatomy,” Damiano.

It also asks that students and staff not be required to use students’ preferred pronouns or a derivative of their legal name.

Oregon Senate Bill 52 would require the Oregon Department of Education to implement a plan for LGBTQ+ students like it already does for many minority communities in the state. Senate Bill 52 has already had a public hearing. It’s been referred to the Ways and Means Committee by order of the Oregon Senate President.

“It’s all about gender identity. And that state of emergency would give a lot of leeway for policymakers without having to go through legislation,” said Damiano.

Since the video appeared on social media, some activists have accused the educators of being transphobic and called for them to be fired.

Damiano said in a statement:

At this time, we are not at liberty to accept an interview with you but do encourage you to reference our website and video for our individual, personal opinions on upcoming legislation and our proposal for pragmatic, loving, and inclusive verbiage adjustments.

Grants Pass School District 7 released a statement:

The social media posts by District staff members were not approved or endorsed by Grants Pass School District 7.

The District is aware of complaints that two staff members have made postings on social media and, as part of these postings, included references to their employment with the District.  These postings were not authorized by the District and are not official statements or positions of the District. At this time, an investigation is underway, and the individuals are not at work.

Grants Pass School District 7 is committed to providing welcoming and safe learning environments for all students, including our LGBTQ students. In Grants Pass schools, we ALL belong, regardless of race, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation or ability. We have policies in place to support safe environments for students, and we will continue protecting the well-being of all students in our schools.

We asked the district for clarification on their employment status and were told it’s a personnel matter.

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