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CEO restates stand against discrimination

In light of  concern surrounding recent changes in federal policy, CMSD Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon sent a message to staff Monday and reaffirmed the District's "steadfast commitment to supporting equity for every student and staff member, regardless of their race, color, national origin, disability, religion, creed or sexual orientation." The text of the message follows.

Good morning CMSD Educators,

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District is committed to providing a safe and welcoming learning environment for every student in our schools.  I want to emphasize that commitment in light of recent announcements from the President and U.S. government officials which have created a climate of fear for many immigrants, refugees,  transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

The President’s recent immigration and refugee ban, while still under judicial review, came just before this week's announcement that the government was rescinding guidance that previously offered protection for students who choose to participate in programs and to use facilities consistent with their gender identity.

In spite of these announcements, CMSD’s current non-discrimination policies reflect our steadfast commitment to supporting equity for every student and staff member, regardless of their race, color, national origin, disability, religion, creed or sexual orientation.

The President’s executive order on immigration and refugees and the announcement this week of the government’s withdrawal of Federal Guidance on Transgender Students will not change the way we operate as a school district.

It is important to note that CMSD staff will not provide assistance to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the enforcement of federal immigration law.  As in many other urban school districts, ICE agents will not be granted access to our students without legal authority, and we will continue to reassure families that their children are safe in our schools.

CMSD continues to increase the avenues though which we are working to assist  students and families who, as a result of recent developments, may feel anxious or frightened about their future.

Our Deans of Engagement, NOW Coordinators and other caring adults in our buildings are equally committed to supporting our immigrant, refugee  and foreign-born students and families.  The District's professional development of Planning Center Instructional Aides now includes training from the LGBTQ Center on ways to support our LGBTQ students during times of uncertainty.  

Below is a helpful link  on the Teaching Tolerance website for educators seeking resources to help them support, staff and families during these challenging times:

 What Do I Say to Students?  This site addresses how students  may be impacted by President Trump’s orders on immigration and refugees. Included are facts and additional links for educators to engage in productive conversations in classrooms and schools as needed.

CMSD will continue to embrace and celebrate our diversity and to continue current policies and practices designed to support our students and ensure an inclusive learning environment that is free from discrimination, intimidation and prejudice.  

Thank you for the role you play every day in making our scholars feel safe and welcome in Cleveland’s public schools.

Sincerely,

Eric Gordon