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School Committee Releases Statement Affirming District's Core Values

On February 2, 2017, the Brookline School Committee released a statement to families and staff reaffirming the district's core values of respecting human difference and educational equity and expressing support for all families regardless of national origin or immigration status. 

 

"We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist."

                                                                                  James Baldwin

 

Dear Public Schools of Brookline Community,

 

From time to time, as critical national issues related to education emerge, the Brookline School Committee believes it is important to reiterate our policies and practices specifically with respect to students in the Public Schools of Brookline (PSB), as well as reinforce our commitment to the PSB’s Core Values.

 

The Brookline School Committee is very proud that students in our schools reflect the fact that Brookline has been a beacon for global families for decades: for new immigrants and refugee families seeking better opportunities for their families; for educators and students at more than 20 Boston-area universities; for medical staff at the Longwood Medical Area and in the biomedical field; for high-tech workers in our thriving IT industry—and beyond.

 

As a general principle, the Brookline School Committee reaffirms the PSB’s long-standing commitment to providing educational opportunities that ensure that every student, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, national origin, native language, disability, or economic status, meets our standards for achievement, participation, and growth.  Further, the United States Supreme Court in Plyer vs Doe, 1982, concluded that, “states cannot constitutionally deny students a free public education on account of their immigration status.” 

 

Specifically, in this time of national uncertainty, the Brookline School Committee is well aware that a number of Brookline students and families are increasingly vulnerable. At this time, it is important to reiterate the fact that the PSB does not require information regarding a student’s immigration status, nor do we share personally-identifiable information, nor will we in the future. Should PSB staff become aware of a student’s immigration status, it is neither our policy nor our practice to share that information with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If families have specific questions related to this issue, please contact Samuel Zimmerman, Deputy Superintendent for Student Services, at samuel_zimmerman@psbma.org.

 

We specifically reaffirm our values of educational equity and respect for human difference, and we are committed to an atmosphere of safety in which to acknowledge and express those differences while advancing true acceptance and respect for all. Today, certain nationalities and religions face attack, but we know that any nationality, religion, or group may well face attacks tomorrow. Recognizing that we are all in this together, we reaffirm our unwavering support for all PSB students and families, and unwavering adherence to policies and practices that uphold these values, now and in the future. We acknowledge that this is a frightening and uncertain time for some of our community members, and we want to affirm that all students and families are valued, welcome, and important members of our inclusive and pluralistic community.

 

Respectfully signed,


Susan Wolf Ditkoff, Chairman                       Andrew Bott, Superintendent of Schools

David Pollak, Vice Chairman

Ben Chang

Helen Charlupski

Michael Glover

Lisa Jackson

Julie Schreiner-Oldham

Barbara Scotto

Beth Jackson Stram