(EVANSVILLE, Ind.) WEHT — A video between an Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation board member and an organization supporting rights of LGBTQ students and staff has been viewed more than 25,000 times.
In a video, EVSC board member Ann Ennis is heard saying, “Cry me a river,” to members of the Tri-State Alliance, a group which advocates for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
One member of the Tri-State alliance says this is not the first time Ennis said something negative to the group but it was the first time they got it on camera. The alliance says they came to the meeting to ask the school board to provide better protection for LGBTQ students. Since the video has circulated, the alliance says they have not received any form of apology from Ennis.
“They did add sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policy, but at the same time they chose not to add gender identity to their non-discrimination policy and they did not have that discussion in public. They have not adopted policies recommended by school professionals on how to make the schools safe for transgender students,” said Tri-State Alliance President Wally Paynter.
Ennis has not yet responded to our request for an interview but in a post to Facebook she says:
“The video of me from November 25th is out of context. After the school board meeting, I attempted state my support for LGBTQ+ issues to the group and was unable to be heard. My comments upon leaving the group were because I was not being allowed to speak. I let myself become angry at being unable to speak. That unprofessionalism on my part led to my wrong-spirited comments. I was not speaking about the tragedy of transgender or of any suicide. I have a long history of stewardship and political activism for LGBTQ+ issues. I will continue this work, and have since September with a new area organization — Greater Evansville Youth.”
“We don’t need school board members who like the LGBTQ community, we’re not looking for friends. We are looking for school board members who do their jobs who make the schools safe for all students and that includes the transgender students,” said Paynter.