Message from Superintendent Kenneth Salim: Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Expression
As many are now aware, on February 22, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education signaled a change in position on educational policies regarding the rights of transgender students. This change runs counter to the core values and policies of Cambridge Public Schools.
Bigotry and intolerance have no place within Cambridge Public Schools’ educational environment and workplace. I want to state unequivocally to all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning students (LGBTQ+) staff, students and collaborating partners: you are valued members of our community.
CPS welcomes and embraces all students – including LGBTQ+ students. We remain committed to providing working conditions for our faculty, staff and community partners that are free from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. We will ensure access and inclusion for people of all genders in all building accommodations and educational practices.
Our stance on this issue is also underscored by the clear requirements of Massachusetts law. One day after federal agencies announced changes to their guidance to schools on this issue, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell Chester issued a reminder to school districts that:
Massachusetts remains dedicated to protecting the rights of transgender students even in light of recent federal actions. No one should be discriminated against based on their gender identity, and under existing state statute and regulations, protections for students and families will remain in place in the Commonwealth.
States can issue their own guidance, which can exceed federal guidelines. The Massachusetts state statute, which predates the federal guidance, ensures protections for all students and prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
The state laws and local policies, referenced below, specifically affirm the right of students to be free from discrimination. Cambridge Public Schools will continue to embrace these and most importantly, we will continue to be a welcoming community. Together, CPS will provide an educational environment that is founded on the values of respect, diversity, and opportunity for all members of our school communities.
- Cambridge School Committee policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment and any form of intimidation, threat or coercion of an individual on the basis of gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, or gender expression. Read the Gender Identity Policy
- Cambridge School Committee's Anti-Bullying Policy and Anti-Cyberbullying Policy, expressly prohibiting bullying based on actual or perceived differentiating characteristics, including on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
- Massachusetts Student Anti-discrimination Law, Chapter 76, Section 5
- Massachusetts Anti-bullying Law, Section 71, Chapter 370
- Massachusetts Act Relative to Gender Identity, Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011
- Guidance to school districts from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on implementing the gender identity provision.
- Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Youth
- Title IX - federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex