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Republican-led New Hanover County School Board revisits sports participation for LGBTQ students

In its first major vote in the new year, Republicans on the New Hanover County school board are already pushing forth a right-wing agenda, voting to send an amendment on transgender youth participation in sports back to the policy committee.

The amendment, also known as Policy 3620, allows students to “participate on a sports team consistent with their gender identity”. In 2021, the policy passed in a 5-2 vote with current Republican board member, Pete Wildeboer, voting no. 

According to Port City Daily, the amendment will be reviewed again by the newly appointed policy committee, put together by Wildeboer. Wildeboer has named his fellow Republican colleagues Josie Barnhart and Pat Bradford, along with Stephanie Kraybill as chair members. 

This comes after board members Barnhart, Bradford, and Wildeboer ran on platforms during the midterm elections that included anti-LGBTQ sentiments. All Republican New Hanover school board members were backed by a far-right education group, Tide Turners, which built a reputation online for spreading harmful conspiracy theories, celebrating the overturning of Roe v Wade, and condemning efforts to promote diversity in schools.

As reported in Port City Daily, members of the community have criticized the school board’s actions; creating a petition that has been signed by 284 community members.

“While you may have your rationale for taking this vote, please understand that it will be perceived as homophobic and punitive by the LGBTQ+ kids in our county,” wrote Jessica Cannon, co-founder of Suit Up Wilmington, in an email to Bradford. “When you took your oath, it was to protect all of the kids in our public schools, not just the ones your religion or your political party deems acceptable.”

Read more at Port City Daily.

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