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The Little Rock School District implements the LEARNS Act.



Little Rock, Arkansas – Board members from the Little Rock School District gathered on Thursday night to start integrating the LEARNS Act into the curriculum.

This includes adjustments to personnel procedures and contracts for teachers.

Districts must install LEARNS by July 1 in order to comply with the new law. If they don’t, the state may refuse to pay for teacher compensation increases.

The directors debated the matter for a while before deciding to approve the adjustments to the policy.

“I don’t know how to vote on this because I don’t like the policy as it is,” LRSD board member Ali Noland said. “Not just because we have to comply with LEARNS, but I also don’t want to put us in a bind in terms of timing.”

The LRSD will make changes to employee pay, work schedules, and student pronoun preferences, among other things.

From this point forward, a student must be addressed by the name on their birth certificate and the pronoun that corresponds to their biological sex, unless the school has received written consent from a parent.

“All of our students, including our gay, lesbian, trans, non-binary students, are welcomed and valued,” Noland said. “We live in Arkansas, and we have to follow the laws of Arkansas, but your school district will do everything we can to value you.”

Board members don’t want to miss the deadline and lose state funds, which might have an influence on salaries, placing LRSD teachers in a difficult situation.

“Because the law binds us, we don’t want to risk harming our district by losing that funding,” LRSD board member Greg Adams said. “I will support these changes.”

The board unanimously approved the revisions to the policies.

Before coming back to the board in June for final approval, the plan will be sent to the district’s personnel policy committee for review.

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