NEW BEDFORD — As they do every year, the New Bedford School Committee will participate in the annual Massachusetts Association of School Committees and Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Joint Conference next month. The Committee will send a delegate to the Nov. 9 meeting to vote on recommendations proposed by MASC/MASS.

During this year's conference, delegates from school committees throughout the Commonwealth will vote on nine recommendations, several of which entail controversial subject matter such as proposals to arm school teachers, reproductive health education, and even sports wagering.

At Monday night's New Bedford School Committee meeting, member John Oliveira took issue with a recommendation that would provide accommodations for transgender students in public athletic programs throughout the state, including gender-neutral locker rooms, bathrooms, and private stall showers.

Oliveira tells WBSM News he opposes what he calls the "progressive democrats'" agenda to build a so-called "unisex society."

"We are men and we are women, and we have different natural ways about us," said Oliveira. "And if anybody wants to say otherwise, then they really, I think, have some issues."

He added that implementing such accommodations would present a financial burden to the taxpayers.

Oliveira further stated he would not want his children to be subjected to sharing a locker room with a member of the opposite sex, even though they may identify as another gender.

However, School Committe member Oliveira made it clear he does support the portion of the recommendation that includes anti-discrimination and anti-bullying policies that would protect students who identify as LGBTQ.

"The LGBTQ community should not be discriminated against. They should not be bullied."

Oliveira's was the only dissenting vote as the School Committee voted 6-1 to support the recommendation as written.

The delegate to the MASC/MASS Joint Conference is Vice-Chair of the New Bedford School Committee Bruce Oliveira, with member Joshua Amaral to serve as the alternate delegate.

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