February 28, 2017
Over the past few days and weeks, I have received questions from community members about how recent federal actions on immigration and transgender guidelines impact our school community. These messages have expressed anxiety and uncertainty, as well as a desire to know where the Newton Public Schools stands in light of these events.
Regardless of federal actions, the Newton Public Schools strongly reaffirms our commitment to create welcoming, supportive, and safe school communities for all students and staff, no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status.
Last week, the Newton City Council voted to become a “Welcoming City,” a city that protects all residents, regardless of legal status. In the same spirit, the Newton Public Schools welcomes all students, no matter where they were born or how they arrived in Newton.
As I visit our schools, I find students from all over the world who are learning and thriving in our classrooms. It is this diversity that gives all of our students such a rich and powerful student experience. The global community in our schools is preparing our students for success in a global world.
Diversity is not solely defined by race or ethnicity; it is multi-faceted, affording us the opportunity to teach acceptance, appreciation, and respect for each and every individual. To this end, I am proud of the real progress we have made in creating welcoming and safe spaces for our transgender students at all levels. Just recently, I had the privilege of listening to a transgender student speak about his experience. It was gratifying to hear about the comfort and acceptance he feels among his peers and within his school community. This reflects the commitment of our staff, our students, and our families.
We are fortunate in Massachusetts to be backed by state statute that ensures protections for all students and prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Our NPS non-discrimination policy also specifies the rights and protections for gender identity and we have created the appropriate spaces in schools so that transgender students feel safe and comfortable.
We will continue to work hard every day to create school communities in which students and adults feel safe and supported. Thank you for your partnership and for your ongoing support.