PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In light of statements made this week by the federal government, officials at Portland Public Schools are reaffirming their policies against discrimination.
Interim Superintendent Bob McKean released 2 statements Friday — one about immigrant families and another about transgender students — talking about the districts dedication to ensuring a safe learning environment for all students.
McKean said federal actions don’t override Oregon laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.
“We each have a role in ensuring that all students, including those who are transgender, can learn and succeed in school without fear of bullying, harassment or isolation,” McKean wrote.
PPS has a policy that staff should refer to transgender students by the name and pronoun they identify with, and many schools have implemented plans to allow those students to use the bathroom which corresponds to their gender identity. The policy also states that students won’t be required to use a locker room that conflicts with their gender identity.
Grant High School is also working on a plan to make all bathrooms gender-neutral.
The Oregon Department of Education issued guidelines in 2016 on the topic. The department recommends that schools allow transgender students to use whatever names, bathrooms and pronouns they want.
McKean also brought up the increased concern in the community over immigration enforcement. He said the district will protect the right to a public education, regardless of the student’s or parent’s immigration status. This comment comes on the heels of a resolution adopted in November 2016 that clarified the district’s procedures in response to the activity of immigration officers.
“This has been an upsetting and unsettling time for many in our community. We are fortunate to have a community of schools that embraces diversity and inclusion and rejects prejudice and discrimination.
McKean encouraged students of families who need extra support to contact PPS Student Services at 503.916.5460.