By: Ana Pichardo—
With regard to the Obama Administration’s Dear Colleague letter that was distributed on May 13, 2016, the Muncie Community Schools feels that the core purpose of the letter is to ensure that children are not discriminated against. Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated, “There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind.” MCS thinks that statement should be able to stand on its own. The U.S. Secretary of Education further stated “No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school.” MCS supports that opinion as well and the dedicated educators of the Muncie Community Schools work tirelessly every day to ensure children feel safe and secure. We are proud of our stance against discrimination in any form and are extremely pleased that bullying incidents are down more than 70% during this school year. The corporation’s embracing of Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) is a key component of ensuring student safety throughout the corporation. This is simply one of the reasons overall serious discipline incidents have declined over 50% this school year from the previous year.
The second key concept to address from the Dear Colleague letter is that the needs of individual children need to be considered on a case-by-case basis and as a school system we have an obligation to assist each child and their family in a way that is best for them. That includes responding promptly and effectively to any harassment of children or staff based upon their actual or perceived differences from others. The letter also reminds educators that children’s privacy rights related to a potential transgender status are protected under federal law.
Another important point is that the guidance letter doesn’t require that transgender children share bathrooms or changing spaces; it simply requires all children have their needs met appropriately. There are a variety of ways that needs can be met and the specifics of those individual situations is necessarily and appropriately kept confidential.
Parents or children who need assistance in addressing concerns should contact their counsellor or principal.
The Muncie Community Schools (MCS) serve approximately 6000 students from Muncie and the surrounding area. MCS provides a range of diverse opportunities for children as well as adult basic education. For more information about MCS events, programs or services, please contact Ana Pichardo, Director of Communications at 765-747-5210 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow MCS on Twitter at @MuncieSchools and like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MCS1Official.