LGBTQ supporters rally against Marysville school board club policy proposal

The Marysville School Board heard more public comment Monday night about a controversial proposal to update policy requiring parental consent for students joining school clubs. 

It's an attempt, according to district officials, to add transparency and increase parental involvement. But detractors insist it targets LGBTQ youth, potentially forcing them to out themselves to parents should they continue club membership.

During the board’s work study session, scores of students, district staff members, LGBTQ community members and allies rallied outside Cedarcrest Middle School carrying signs, waving flags, while rejecting the board’s proposal. 

Madelyn Mang, a 17-year-old junior student in the district, told FOX 13 News that several of her fellow classmates already struggle with families who do not support sexual orientations which do not meet normative definitions.

"I’ve had friends who have gotten kicked out for the night," she said, adding that many of the students part of her school’s LGBTQ club find comfort in the group where it can lack at home.

Critics say proposed Marysville SD policy requiring parent consent for school clubs targets LGBT students

The American Civil Liberties of Washington told FOX 13 News it did not believe any other school district in the state requires anything similar. Plus, requiring parents’ permission – especially for gay student alliances – could endanger young people not ready to come out to parents.

"Some kids stay out all night. Not everyone has a place to go. Some end up on park benches," said Mang.

Also among the demonstrators, board President Paul Galovin who spoke with as many people as possible, shaking hands and thanking them for sharing their voice about matters impacting district student’s daily lives. 

When asked how Galovin considered opponents’ arguments, he shared a personal experience from his own family.

"My own sister shuns her own daughter for this opportunity that her daughter has given her to embrace a difference," he said. "It’s horrible to think that parents have that as a reaction. Most parents won’t, maybe, but if parents are doing that, and they’re doing that here, is there a way we can reduce that barrier? I’m hoping that we will find a way."

The school board then heard from dozens more during public comment, and amended proposed language that narrows the policy’s impact for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. 

The updated proposals will hear another round of public comment during the district’s next meeting scheduled for June 6.