BENTONVILLE, Ark. – August 17, 2015 – This evening a measure to update the Bentonville School District’s Equality Employment Opportunity Policy to include clear language protecting employees from discrimination based upon parental status, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity failed by a 2-4 vote. Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality called for immediate action to clarify district policy and protect all employees.
Statement by NWA Center for Equality:
“For months, Bentonville Schools has debated whether or not to explicitly state that every employee is equally protected regardless of parental status, veteran status, sexual orientation and gender identity. We are disappointed that Bentonville Public Schools continues to cling to policies of the past when other school districts, companies and communities are moving forward. A qualified teacher should never be told that her rights are only implied, especially if the rights of her colleagues are clearly defined. Because the school board lacks the courage to adopt a policy clearly granting the same protections to all of its employees, we ask that the district immediately issue a district-wide memo clarifying that “sex” as listed in its equal opportunity employment policy does indeed cover sexual orientation and gender identity, and that the district does not tolerate discrimination on those grounds. We also ask the district to incorporate training that specifies that its definition of sex includes these classes.
We appreciate board members Greg Lightle and Matt Burgess for standing up for all Bentonville School District employees and supporting true inclusion.”
About NWA Center for Equality
The NWA Center for Equality is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which leads a grassroots support and advocacy movement working to achieve full equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community in Northwest Arkansas. More information is available at nwaequality.org.