By a unanimous vote, the Kenowa Hills Public Schools Board of Education has passed policies aimed at giving more protections to the LGBTQ+ community. At the regular meeting on June 10, 2019, the school board expanded their Policies 6320 and 6325 to require that all public dollars spent by KHPS go to businesses that no longer discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community.
The idea for these policies was proposed in January by trustee Eric-John Szczepaniak, a 21 year old gay school board member and KH graduate, who has said that such policies are critical in strengthening LGBTQ+ inclusivity at Kenowa Hills Public Schools. KH Superintendent Gerald Hopkins crafted the policy which also includes “affirmative steps for small and minority businesses and women’s business enterprises” with the help of legal counsel.
This measure, Szczepaniak says, was inspired by then-Governor Snyder’s executive directive that he signed just days before leaving office in December. The State of Michigan now issues contracts, grants, and loans only to those companies that are LGBTQ+ affirming. This Kenowa Hills policy now requires contractors to attach company nondiscrimination procedures to bids in order to be considered for all future contracts.
Additionally, Szczepaniak serves as President of the Student Body at GVSU where, earlier this year, the Student Senate passed a resolution sponsored by Szczepaniak urging the GVSU Board of Trustees to adopt a policy that awards contracts to companies that demonstrate LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination. Changes were made at GVSU to reflect this same policy in April. Read more here.
Eric-John Szczepaniak serves as a trustee for the Kenowa Hills school board and student body president at GVSU. He is also the President of the Michigan Center for Civic Education.
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