GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Days after the Grants Pass School Board reversed its decision to fire a pair of controversial educators, high school students are planning a walkout in response.
In July the two women were fired, not for their involvement in the ‘I Resolve’ movement, but for using district equipment for a personal project. Now a student group at Grants Pass High School is organizing a walkout. They and others in the community feel the educators aren’t respectful of the LGBTQ+ community. Earlier this year these students told NBC5 News they felt supported by the school board and district for firing educators, Rachel Damiano and Katie Medart.
Since the board reversed its decision this week, they’ve felt broken and disgusted. Now the Grants Pass High School Pride Club wants to make sure everyone feels supported within the school community.
Deenie Bulyart is a junior at Grants Pass High School. Evan Tucker is a senior at the school. Both are members of the school’s Pride Club.
“They really don’t feel like they have a voice just because of the area we live in,” said Tucker.
When educators Rachel Damiano and Katie Medart released their ‘I Resolve’ movement videos, the students say it hurt.
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.
The students told NBC5 News when the educators were fired by the district over the summer in a controversial 4-3 vote it was like a weight was lifted off of them.
“It felt like I was walking into a school that supported me and that I didn’t have to be as afraid anymore,” said Bulyart.
Then this week the board heard appeals from the two educators. Unlike the first hearing, this session was off-limits to the public. In another 4-3 vote the board reversed its decision.
“It felt like the building that we were building just came crashing down,” Bulyart.
Now the two students are planning to protest the decision by walking out of their classes on Tuesday. They ask all supporters to wear purple. They’re asking all students to join them and believe many will participate.
“You can say what you want within your home. But you can’t always say what you want in the workplace. And that and I think that’s where the problem lies,” said Tucker.
The Grants Pass School District has declined to comment on the decision by the school board calling it a personnel matter. School board members have also pointed to the federal lawsuit the educators still have against the district and the board members for their no comment. The district has repeatedly said it believes all students belong in Grants Pass School District 7.
NBC5 News reached out to both Damiano and Medart for comment, they said due to pending litigation they cannot comment.