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Students, adults clash at Grants Pass High School protest

November 17, 2021 GMT

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Student demonstrators and adult counter-protesters clashed outside Grants Pass High School in Oregon during a student-led walkout against the reinstatement of two educators who expressed public support for educational policies that favor a student’s biological sex over their gender identity, authorities said.

Students left class Tuesday to protest a Nov. 9 school board vote to reinstate former North Middle School assistant principal Rachel Damiano and former science teacher Katie Medart.

Several adults from religious groups showed up to demonstrate against the students and between 200 to 300 people wound up outside the high school, the Mail Tribune reported.

Police detained several people, including a student who they said spit on a counter-protester and a teen who tried to intervene in another student’s arrest.

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In a statement, the Grants Pass Police Department said they sent officers to the high school and middle schools at the district’s request. The crowds at the middle schools were small and peaceful, the department said.

Damiano and Medart were fired last July after an independent investigation found they used district resources to promote a movement they dubbed “I Resolve.” The school board reversed course and reinstated them last week after one board member changed their vote.

The movement’s website says it believes school bathrooms and locker rooms should be assigned based on students’ biological sex and not their gender identity. The teachers also don’t want to teachers to be required to use a student’s preferred transgender pronouns.