Ohio University Graduate Student Senate met Tuesday to discuss a resolution opposing Ohio House Bill 616, also known as the “don’t say gay” bill.
The bill prohibits public and some private schools from teaching, among other things, materials about sexual orientation or gender identity to students in kindergarten through third grade.
Women’s Affairs Commissioner Leticia Price supported the resolution and said it is important for the body to oppose the bill on the grounds that it attempts to remove important conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion from K–12 schools. She said there is no evidence proving that teaching young children about those topics presents any major harm to those age groups.
“What we continue to see is that research is proving that this type of education actually creates more safe environments for everyone,” she said. “And by taking this education away, it could perhaps create more damage mentally and some physical damage as well for some folks.”
Jason Dreher, representative from the department of chemistry and biochemistry, said he was against the body’s resolution because he believes those conversations should not be had with young children and at the very least should be had with a parent or guardian instead of in the classroom.
Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Senator Abby Morton said she believes conversations about diversity, equity and inclusion should be had when children are still young, because they are still malleable, and “a lot more emotionally mature than we give them credit for.”
The resolution passed.