Forestal: “Public tax dollars should not fund discrimination in schools”

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Dan Forestal (D-Indianapolis) said Indiana House Republicans today sent a strong message of support for discrimination against faculty, staff and students in schools that benefit from public tax dollars.

All but one of the House Republicans rejected a proposal from Forestal that would have prohibited public and private schools and schools eligible to receive Choice Scholarships from discriminating against faculty, staff, and students because of their gender identity and sexual orientation. Forestal teamed up with the Indiana Department of Education in October 2018 to start drafting the language for this amendment to House Bill 1641.

Forestal’s proposal was inspired by the decision of administrators at Roncalli High School – located on the South Side of Indianapolis—to suspend a guidance counselor because of sexual orientation. That person and a second guidance counselor have filed discrimination complaints against the school with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

“Roncalli has received more than $6 million in taxpayer funds as part of the state’s voucher program,” Forestal said. “It concerns me as someone who graduated from Roncalli, a lifelong Hoosier, and a state legislator that Hoosier tax dollars are funding Roncalli’s discriminatory practices.

“As lawmakers, we should stand together and prevent institutions that receive public dollars from discriminating against their faculty, staff, and students,” he continued. “I fail to understand why we would not pursue these policies as a normal matter of course. It is disappointing to see that House Republicans do not share these priorities.”

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