Amherst-Pelham school officials show support for LGBTQIA+ students following discrimination allegations
AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Amherst-Pelham School Committee unanimously approved a letter of support of their LGBTQIA+ students at Tuesday’s meeting after allegations of discrimination in the district.
“Our priority now needs to be ensuring all students in the community that we support all students, particularly LGBTQ+ students,” said school committee member Jennifer Shiao.
School committee members vowed to make their school district a safe and supportive place for LGBTQ+ students after allegations of discrimination. Earlier this month, discrimination claims sparked a Title IX investigation that lead to three middle school counselors being placed on paid administrative leave. Now, the school committee continuing the conversation Tuesday night with the focus on how they can help prevent discrimination in their district.
“Doing this is more important than anything else on our agenda tonight,” Shiao added.
The committee unanimously approved a statement of support. It said, in part:
“Despite recent anti-trans allegations, we remain unwavering in our commitment to embrace, support, and celebrate LGBTQ+ students.”
“We are deeply sorry for the pain and harm some individuals, families, and other members of our community have experienced recently, and we know that our words alone are not enough. That is why we are committed to taking the concrete actions available within our purview to ensure that such harm does not continue and is never repeated.”
Amherst-Pelham Regional High School Principal Talib Sadiq said the high school is working hard to create a supportive environment, but said it’s a constant work in progress.
“Trying as a community, a school, administrative counselors and, as adults, we do try to promote and respond to incidents when we find out people aren’t being accept and if there’s bullying or anything of that nature happening,” Sadiq
Overall, many school committee members agreed that the conversation shouldn’t stop here.
“There needs to be other concrete steps that this committee does in relationship to this issue, this incident, that occurred, etc. and these steps cannot just stop with this letter. It’s a really great starting point and only a starting point,” said school committee member Irv Rhodes.
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