On Tuesday, the Orleans Parish School Board considered and unanimously passed a tough new amendment to the school system’s anti-bullying policy, a ban on teaching creationism and intelligent design in science classes, and a ban on revisionist history books for the classroom. The measures were introduced by outgoing President Thomas Robichaux, who also serves as a board member of the Forum for Equality Louisiana,
“The Forum for Equality applauds the entire Orleans Parish School Board, and especially OPSB President Thomas Robichaux, for taking these important steps that protect students, and ensure that they are taught science and accurate history in school” said Randy Evans, Political Director of Forum for Equality Louisiana.
The tough new amendment to the school system’s anti-bullying policy provides that teachers will be disciplined if they do not take action against bullying. News of the new policies have received considerable and positive attention on national websites including Reddit.com, the Huffington Post, and Politico.com. Robichaux said that he received over one thousand “thank you” faxes and emails in the two days since the story first broke. “The response has been overwhelming,” he said.
Zac Kopplin, the Rice University student who has been a major advocate for the repeal of the misnamed Louisiana Science Education Act, and who spoke on behalf of the new policies, said he estimates that there were over one million hits on the various online articles, and that was before such mainstream press picked up on it, with The Advocate and WWLTV both doing stories on the new policies in the past day. The Huffington Post alone has over 1,100 comments to the story as of today.
Fellow School Board member Woody Koppel, who also served as President for 2 years, praised Robichaux’s drive. “For four years, Thomas [Robichaux] has been pushing for tougher and tougher anti-bullying policies and fighting to improve our curricula. I am very pleased to support his efforts in this area and help guarantee our children are taught real science in a safe environment. No one should be surprised that he pushed to have these policies passed while he is still President. It is exactly in keeping with his long-term advocacy for improved education and equality for all.”
Robichaux is leaving the school board after serving one term. When he came into office four years ago, he became the first openly gay elected official in Louisiana. The Forum for Equality congratulates and thanks Thomas Robichaux for his public service and advocacy on behalf of students everywhere.