By Joe Ruffe
OMAHA, Neb. (CNS) – The Nebraska Catholic Conference has urged people to support a proposal being considered by the Nebraska School Activities Association that would formalize the current practice of basing high school sports participation on students’ sex at birth.
Time is critical, because representatives in one of NSAA’s six districts were to vote Jan. 6 on the “at-birth” proposal as well as another bylaw proposal that is similar but raises serious concerns because it would allow some exceptions, said Sheri Rickert, policy director and general counsel for the conference.
Approval of the at-birth proposal at the January meetings is necessary to prevent adoption of a policy by the NSAA board Jan. 14 that would allow participation based on subjective gender identity, Rickert said.
The conference urged parents – particularly of students in public schools – to contact school superintendents and school board members to express their concern and call on officials to vote for the bylaw proposal that would continue the practice of basing sports participation on a student’s sex as stated on his or her birth certificate, Rickert said.
Archbishop George J. Lucas and Bishops James D. Conley of Lincoln and Joseph G. Hanefeldt of Grand Island issued a statement on the issue, urging all NSAA member schools to vote in favor of the at-birth proposal. The bishops said all people are entitled to respect, dignity and the support needed for personal development and well-being.
“Such support, however, must be provided with due consideration to fairness and the safety, privacy and rights of all students,” the bishops said.
“Parents have always appreciated school activities as playing a vital role in the major development of school age children,” the statement said. “It would be unjust to allow a harmful and deceptive gender ideology to shape either what is taught or how activities are conducted in our schools. This would certainly have a negative impact on students’ and society’s attitudes toward the fundamental nature of the human person and family.”