The News Tribune asked the candidates in contested races for Jefferson City Board of Education in the April 6 election to answer the following reader-submitted questions.
Incumbents Ken Enloe and Lindsey Rowden, as well as challenger Ian Shadrick, are vying for the two available seats on the board.
What is your position on allowing transgender students to participate on sports teams of the gender they identify with?
Ken Enloe: As a member of the Missouri State High School Activities Association, we must follow their guidelines for participation by Jefferson City School District students. It is my understanding that any request like this is reviewed and ruled on by MSHSAA, on a case-by-case basis. As a member of the board, I support our continued membership in MSHSAA.
Lindsey Rowden: I believe biological males should play male sports and biological females should play female sports. While I want to be as sensitive and understanding as possible of the varying needs of our JCSD students, we must also be clear as to the precedents and potential challenges created by any position other than the one our district has followed for its entire history on this issue.
Ian Shadrick: I believe that the Board of Education has a duty to ensure that all students feel safe and welcome in their school. Participation in sports and other extracurricular activities is very important for many students. This is an important issue for families on both sides, and inclusivity of all students should be at the forefront of the board's decision-making process.
Is it appropriate for publicly funded school buildings to have political messages be displayed in them, such as Black Lives Matter? If yes, do you also support allowing messages and displays from students that support other groups, such as Missouri Right to Life, the Vitae Foundation, the NRA or Blue Lives Matter and the Fraternal Order of Police during National Police Week? Explain your answer.
Ken Enloe: No, it's not appropriate for political organizations to be promoted in our schools. In this question, the reader names NRA, whose primary objective is to lobby state/national legislatures in support of, or opposition to, specific political platforms. Missouri Right to Life identifies itself as a "political action committee." Any overt recruitment or promotion of a political organization is prohibited by law and has not been done in our schools. To allow a statement like "black lives matter" or "blue lives matter" in the context of a study of historical or current events is not promoting a political organization.
Lindsey Rowden: JCSD should be a place where our students are challenged in their thinking and in their views. JCSD shouldn't be a place where one particular view of the world, political or otherwise, is presented as the only acceptable view. I do not think that the organizations listed should have public displays supporting their issues and causes in a JCSD building. We can encourage our students to explore these various viewpoints without using our taxpayer-funded buildings as a place to make overtly political statements or possibly disrupting the learning environment.
Ian Shadrick: As a school district that receives public funds, it is important that the board and district administrators consider community expectations for curriculum and work to ensure information presented allows students the opportunity to learn and enhance their knowledge of the world they live in, including current events, but that focuses on the goal of education. It is also important that curriculums be used that allow for development of critical thinking skills, allowing them to learn to develop their own perspective.