A National Call to Action: Make Our Schools’ Values Known

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
James Minichello
703-875-0723
703-774-6953 (cell)
jminichello@aasa.org


Alexandria, Va. – November 21, 2016 – AASA, The School Superintendents Association, is joining several other national education organizations to address the recent increase in bias incidents in schools. This call to action is presented as a joint statement by leading education organizations: AASA, The School Superintendents Association, American School Counselor Association (ASCA), GLSEN, National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), National School Boards Association (NSBA), and the National PTA.

We come together as national education organizations in the wake of the troubling rash of reports of bias incidents and violence occurring in schools across the nation in recent days.
 
As learning communities, schools and school systems are responsible for providing all students with a physically and emotionally safe learning environment. This principle is the foundation of academic achievement, healthy individual development, and civic engagement. Violence, intimidation, and purposefully harmful expressions of bias undercut the core mission of schools and have no place in our school communities. We applaud the many schools and school districts that have already taken meaningful steps to develop and support positive school climate in their communities.
 
At a time when specific groups of students are being targeted, we must ensure that those students specifically know that their schools welcome them and that they will be safe. We urge all education stakeholders, including district leaders, heads of schools, principals, teachers, parents and guardians, and other educators to take action immediately within their school communities to support all students, especially those who face bias incidents in their schools. These actions should specifically affirm the right 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.

We call upon our constituents and all education leaders to:

  • Publicly reaffirm the inclusive values that are the foundation of healthy learning cultures,
  • Lead a conversation with their school community on the core values of respect and inclusion at the heart of all learning; and
  • Consider posting a statement regarding these core values throughout their schools and/or all the schools within their district.

For specific questions, please contact Noelle Ellerson, AASA associate executive director, policy and advocacy, at nellerson@aasa.org.

About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org.