protected classes

If South Dakota’s Gay School Children Can Be Protected, Why Not Fat Kids? Or Red-Headed Girls?


The Rapid City School District, in South Dakota, revised its anti-discrimination policy in September to add “pregnancy” and “marital status” to its list of protected classes. Not yet on the list: sexual orientation or gender identity. But to keep its state accreditation, the district is considering doing just that. Until the school board held a meeting to debate adding four new words, and everyone jumped in to say they also wanted fatness and hair color added to the list.

Because heavy people, and those who put a pink streak in their hair, also face harassment, bullying, and discrimination. The Rapid City Journal notes:

A majority of the community speakers Thursday night asked board members to strike the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” and replace them with “other human differences.”

“Our current policy must protect the rights of all students, not just special interest groups,” said local pastor Dale Bartscher, who is affiliated with the South Dakota Family Policy Council. “That includes fat, thin, short, if they have blue hair, whatever.”

A line of almost a dozen community members and legislators echoed the sentiment with personal stories of being bullied or bullying students for things that were not on the list – for having red hair, for being the new kid, for coming to school as a cowboy – smelling like the farm and the morning chores you just came from – as was Charles Kruse’s experience.

“Are you going to add cowboys?” he asked.

Well, gay cowboys, maybe.