Wellesley Public Schools Superintendent David Lussier has issued a memo assuring members of the WPS community that transgender students will be afforded protections here despite last week’s federal rollback of protections.
Dear Members of the WPS Staff and Community,
The Wellesley Public Schools has long been guided by its core values of academic excellence, commitment to community, respect for human differences, and cooperative and caring relationships. During the past year, these values have been challenged by events at both the local and national level. With the incredible support of our broader community, it has, and remains vital, to reaffirm our commitment to these values in the face of adversity. One such time is now.
The ongoing rhetoric and actions emanating from our national leaders continues to draw divisions across the country leaving some individuals and groups feeling targeted and disenfranchised. The aggregate result of this trend has left members of our own school community feeling shaken and vulnerable.
With this in mind, it is important to provide our students, parents, and staff with a level of assuredness that, regardless of the current national discourse, the Wellesley Public Schools remains a district in which we view our diversity as a strength and we continue to build bridges—not walls—to understanding and mutual respect.
More specifically, it is important for our families to know that ALL residents of our community have a right to attend and thrive in our schools regardless of citizenship, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Additionally, and in light of last week’s federal rollback of protections for transgender students, it is important to underscore that both our state law and local practice will continue to afford these protections to transgender students in our schools. If anyone has questions about our approach/ practice in any of these areas, please don’t hesitate to contact my office.
We certainly do not have a perfect record in adhering to the aforementioned ideals, but I remain firmly convinced that our core values represent an important compass that must continue to guide us through these uncertain times where moral equivalency appears to be given to what is politically expedient. That will not be happening in our district on our watch.
Thank you for your ongoing support of our students and of each other in the days ahead.
Superintendent of Schools
Lussier’s message arrived in email inboxes with a heading of “One Wellesley”, which reminded me to check in on where that effort stands. As you might recall, Wellesley High kicked off the 2016-17 school year doling out bracelets bearing the One Wellesley message and urging the school community to band together to become more inclusive.
Lussier says that a lot has been going on with One Wellesley since the start of the school year. “We have had student and faculty groups formed about this topic and all of our administrators have been going through cultural competence training. We are also in the process of identifying a partner to conduct a formal assessment of the climate of race and diversity within our district. Our METCO 50th anniversary events have also presented multiple opportunities through speakers and events to engage this topic.”
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