PENDLETON, Ind.—I was kicked out of a public school board meeting Thursday night in this Indiana town because I asked a board member to provide details concerning a claim he made about a source in my prior article. 

The board of the South Madison Community School Corporation held a public meeting to vote on the firing of Kathy McCord, a student counselor who previously told The Daily Signal that she did not agree with the school district’s secret policy to hide a student’s transgender name and status from their parents.

McCord, who worked at Pendleton High School for 25 years, further confirmed the legitimacy of South Madison school district’s “Gender Support Plan,” which had been provided to The Daily Signal by both parents and staff members in the district.

After an evening in which dozens of parents showed up to show their support for McCord, imploring the school board to keep her on staff, the board voted unanimously to terminate her contract. Buck Evans, a board member for over 20 years, made this accusation:

Mrs. McCord admitted she did not tell the truth about providing Mr. Kinnett with the document or correct misleading statements within his article, although she did read it before she started. Misleading statements in The Daily Signal article along with editing the document enflamed the public unnecessarily. You can see on this document there is to be a meeting with the child’s parents and/or guardians. Mrs. McCord has not been dismissed because she gave the document to Mr. Kinnett but because of untruthful statements she made to the administration.

As the school board adjourned the meeting, I asked from the press area: “How was the document edited? Can you claim how the document was edited at all? Can you cite how the document was edited—since you leveled the claim that it was falsified?”

Board President Mike Hanna then ordered officers of the Pendleton Police Department to remove me from the premises. 

At no time did I ever edit the Gender Support Plan or the counselor-to-teacher email, as Evans claims.

As you can see below, I received the Gender Support Plan and the email in the same form as published in both emails and text messages in December.

A text message from South Madison parent Brandon Godbey, who sent the original email to The Daily Signal on Nov. 14, unedited.

Before I wrote the first report on South Madison’s hidden gender support policy for The Daily Signal, I asked to speak with Schools Superintendent Mark Hall several times—he refused to speak with me. I asked several of the board members to clarify the documents I had received and to answer the claims parents were making. I was refused comment. 

When The Daily Signal published the first article, the South Madison Community School Corporation did not contest the internal document published with it, and did not claim that document was falsified at any of the five school board meetings between December and March’s executive session to fire McCord.

Below is the email (sender omitted) sent Dec. 1 that contained a digital version of the SMCSC Student Gender Support Plan. There has not been a scrap of content cut or altered to suit any agenda—it was published by The Daily Signal on Dec. 5 as given to me Dec. 1:

The Gender Support Plan, as sent to The Daily Signal on Dec. 1, before the first article was released.

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