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Board Approves Settlement Agreement

Earlier this week, the Linn-Mar School Board approved a settlement agreement to resolve a lawsuit brought in August 2022 challenging Board Policy no. 504.13-R. This policy was originally adopted in April 2022 to provide transparency in how the district would provide school-based accommodations to transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming students.

In March 2023, the Board voluntarily rescinded Policy no. 504.13-R due to uncertainty in the legislature and the courts. Later that year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued a preliminary ruling that one provision of the policy, which prohibited an intentional or persistent refusal to respect a student’s gender identity, was not enforceable because the court found the term “respect” to be too vague.

In her concurring opinion, Eighth Circuit Judge Jane Kelly acknowledged that the Board adopted the policy to “ensure a safe, affirming, and healthy school environment” for all students, and that this goal is “not only appropriately inclusive and well within the scope of the district’s educational mission…[i]t is mandated by law.”

The Board believes the time and resources of the district are better spent looking forward than continuing to defend a lawsuit about a policy that has not been in effect for nearly a year. The district’s insurance company will pay $20,000 to resolve this claim and avoid the need for further litigation. No district funds are being paid toward this settlement.

The Board emphasizes its ongoing commitment to support all learners and to provide a safe and affirming school environment for transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming students and their families within the parameters of the law.

Any student who feels they have been subject to bullying or harassment in violation of Board Policy 103 may submit a complaint using this form. The District will investigate and resolve all complaints in accordance with district policy and applicable federal and state law.