Dear NJPSA Members,
It has now been three weeks since the presidential election has passed, and as our nation remains deeply divided on a myriad of issues, it is now more important than ever that we do our part to come together to reaffirm what we believe in as educators.
One of the most disturbing outcomes of the election has been reports of bias incidents and violence occurring in schools. As school leaders, we take our responsibility to create a welcoming climate and culture where all students can learn and grow seriously. Accordingly, I am pleased to join a coalition of nine national educational organizations, including the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, in a call to action in the wake of these reports to make our school values of mutual respect and understanding known. Violence, intimidation, and purposeful harmful expressions of bias undercut the core mission of schools and have no place in our school communities.
I am so proud of the many schools and school districts, particularly those here in New Jersey, that have already taken meaningful steps to develop and support positive school climate in their communities. At a time when specific groups are being targeted, we must ensure that those students know that they will be emotionally and physically safe in school and that any acts of intolerance will not be accepted. I urge all NJPSA members and all educational stakeholders to affirm the rights of all students, regardless of race, color, national origin, immigration status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religion to be educated in an environment free from fear, violence, and intimidation.
Please consider posting a statement regarding your commitment to these core values throughout your school or district. I also ask any of you who are experiencing difficulties with these issues to please call or e-mail me or any of our NJPSA FEA staff, and we will be sure to provide the guidance and support you need to help you reinforce a positive school climate and culture.
Again, thank you for all that you do to promote a safe, healthy, and positive learning environment for your students.