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On March 25, District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton, Board President Anya Tanyavutti, and Board Vice President Biz Lindsay-Ryan announced the second LGBTQ+ Equity Week which starts on April 12. Below is their letter to the District 65 Community:
“As we continue to celebrate and honor the diversity of our District 65 community, we are excited to announce our second LGBTQ+ Equity Week during the week of April 12. As with Latinx Heritage Equity Week and Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, LGBTQ+ Equity Week is aligned to our equity goals and celebrated in partnership by the District Administration, School Board, and all of our unions representing educators and staff members.
“Throughout the week, educators and prek-8th grade students will broaden their understanding of identity of self and others, allyship, family structures, vocabulary, gender expression, stereotypes, colors on the intersectional pride flag, and the historical contributions of LGBTQ+ people. All content has been developed and reviewed to ensure that it is developmentally and age appropriate for all students. We believe these lessons center both the academic and social-emotional needs of children, help build community, and are vital to supporting our district mission of preparing students to contribute positively to a global and diverse society.
“Now more than ever, we know how important school is to children’s daily lives. We know that 86 percent of LGBTQ+ youth have reported being harassed or assaulted at school (2019 GLSEN Climate Survey Report). In District 65, we take our responsibility seriously to create an inclusive, welcoming environment where every child can feel safe, valued, and has the support and encouragement to reach their full potential.
“We are so grateful for an amazing group of D65 educators who spent many hours reviewing feedback from the 2019-20 school year to develop and refine robust, thoughtful, and developmentally appropriate units of study. All lessons and activities can be viewed at district65.net/equityweeks.
“Public schools across the State are now required to include LGBTQ+ history in its curriculum. Our LGBTQ+ Equity Week was designed to provide a more complete account of the role of historically marginalized people in our society. We continue to further support this important work in our district and over the past year have updated our administrative procedures, including gender support plans, for students and staff who are LGBTQ+, transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming, in accordance with Board Administrative Procedure 7:10.
“To answer some community questions and to share more information about the week, Dr. Horton will host an upcoming panel discussion as part of our Conversations with the Superintendent video series that will be shared with our community during the week of April 5. General questions may be submitted via this Google form by Tuesday, March 30, at 12pm. Please contact your child’s principal for specific questions. We look forward to partnering with our staff and families in LGBTQ+ Equity Week to honor and affirm the diversity of our community.”