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Katherine Sasser resigns from Columbia School Board citing swath of anti-LGBTQ legislation

Katherine Sasser addresses the crowd at the Columbia Public Schools Board meeting Monday, May 8, 2023.
Katherine Sasser addresses the crowd at the Columbia Public Schools Board meeting Monday, May 8, 2023.

Columbia School Board member Katherine Sasser announced at the start of the board's meeting Monday evening she would resign. Sasser said she plans to formally submit her resignation Tuesday.

She added that she would be moving out of state with her family due to the consideration of several pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation in the state legislature. Sasser, who has served on the board for 2 years, also has a transgender daughter who grew up in the district.

She highlighted her fears that young people in the state will miss out on the opportunity to truly get to know their community.

"I'm further saddened by the possibility of a future Missouri where a generation of young people are not given the opportunity to get to know and love their diverse neighbors," Sasser said.

"I'm afraid of classrooms whose bookshelves only represent one point of view, students who aren't free to show up as their full selves and educators not being trusted to make decisions they need to in order to serve each and every student under their care."

Currently state lawmakers are considering dozens of bills affecting transgender youth and LGBTQ people in the state. She previously described these bills as attacks on LGBTQ rights and the public school system in the state.

Sasser described her start in Columbia as a student at the University of Missouri in 2003 and thanked the board members, staff and parents who worked with her throughout her 20 years in Columbia. She described her service on the board as a privilege calling Columbia a "truly special place."

Fighting back tears she called on those present to keep fighting to improve the district for its students and to care for one another.

"I implore us to use our agency and privilege wherever we find it to stand in on behalf of those who continue to be attacked and minorities especially in these challenging times. Believe people when they say who they are and what they need."

It is now up to the remaining school board members to appoint Sasser's replacement "as soon as it is convenient," according to the Columbia Public Schools Board Policy Manual.

Per district policy, the board will advertise the vacancy in local newspapers and on the district website, nominate a candidate out of the pool of applicants and ultimately select them to serve on the school board. Anyone can apply for the seat and if appointed will serve the remainder of Sasser's term which expires in April 2024.

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