NAZARETH, Pa. — White privilege and the rights of LGBTQ students were the subjects of debate again at last week's Nazareth Area School Board meeting.

Members of the newly-formed Moms for Liberty Northampton chapter are pushing for the district to adopt policies that would restrict classroom materials and library books, and ban transgender athletes from playing on teams that align with their gender identity.

Others criticized the district for authorizing training on subjects that include white privilege and LGBTQ+ awareness.

  • A new Moms for Liberty chapter is urging the Nazareth Area School Board to pass policies restricting classroom materials and library books
  • Some worry that such policies target LGBTQ students
  • Speakers at last week's meeting also criticized the approval of Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 training that discussed white privilege

Jennifer Simon, chair of the recently formed Moms for Liberty Northampton chapter, advocated at the Nov. 22 board meeting for Nazareth to create policies like controversial ones approved in Central Bucks, Hempfield and Pennridge school districts.
The Central Bucks School Board passed a rule earlier this year that censors district-wide material that contains “sexualized content.” It also approved a procedure allowing community members to challenge library books they deem to be “inappropriate.”

Critics have said they worry those policies will target books that mention LGBTQ people or subjects. Simon also advocated for a ban on transgender athletes playing on teams that correspond with their gender identity, which the Hempfield School Board in Lancaster County signed off on in July.

Pennridge adopted a guideline that bans the display of crosses, materials mentioning abortion and anything that mentioned or symbolized LGBTQ people or ideas.

Simon said those policies are in the best interest of all students.

“Absent a policy, teachers and administrators are left on their own, trying to address the issue at hand,” she said. “Without a governing policy and leaving things to chance, it opens up potential bias behaviors even if unintentional.”

Jessica Dieck, who said she has two children in the school district, said the killing of LGBTQ people in a mass shooting on Nov. 19 at a gay club in Colorado is what happens when hatred and gaslighting are not checked and allowed to target marginalized people.

A man armed with a long gun opened fire in the club, killing five people and wounding 18 before being tackled by club patrons and arrested by police.

“Violent tragedies like the one in Colorado Springs are the direct result of anti-LGBTQ spread in public platforms like this,” Dieck said. “You have to see that.”

Other meeting participants were upset that school board member Kenneth Butz approved training for Colonial Intermediate Unit 20 administrators and employees on white privilege, implicit bias, social and emotional learning and LGBTQ issues.

Butz is on the Colonial IU 20’s board of directors, along with members from other local school districts. It serves 13 school districts and three career and technical centers in Northampton, Monroe and Pike counties. The IU 20's website says it facilitates communication between schools, communities, and legislative leaders on matters of educational practice and public policy.

Aly Warner, vice chair of the Moms for Liberty Northampton chapter, said the outside training for administrators could negatively impact a student. She said she objects to children being taught that being white puts them at a disadvantage.

“I don’t feel guilty being white,” she said. “I didn’t choose to be white. I was born white.”

Warner said she wants more transparency about what representatives for the Nazareth Area School District are voting on at the IU 20 meetings.

The next Nazareth Area School Board meeting is set for Tuesday, Dec. 6, and members will reorganize the board.