At its regular meeting on June 24, 2019, the Kenowa Hills Public Schools Board of Education voted 6-0 to support a resolution sponsored by Trustee Eric-John Szczepaniak that asks the State Legislature to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976.
Trustee Szczepaniak, the first LGBTQ+ Kenowa Hills school board member, spoke in-depth about the importance of including sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in state laws that bar discrimination. Currently, Elliott-Larsen protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, and marital status.
The Kenowa Hills Public Schools Board of Education urges the Legislature to immediately adopt House Bill 4688 of 2019, sponsored by Representative Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo), which would make sexual orientation and gender identity and expression protected under state law.
Copies of this resolution will be sent to the legislators that represent parts of the Kenowa Hills district: State Representatives Mark Huizenga (R-Kent Co.) and Luke Meerman (R-Ottawa Co.) and State Senators Peter MacGregor (R-Kent Co.) and Roger Victory (R-Ottawa Co.). Another copy will be sent to the Michigan Association of School Boards to be considered by the entire school board delegation that attends the Annual Leadership Conference in November. If adopted in November, the MASB would then lobby for its passage as well.
Eric-John Szczepaniak serves as a trustee for the Kenowa Hills school board and the President of the Michigan Center for Civic Education.