Chapel Hill school board to send letter in support of LGBT youth to North Carolina State School Board


From the Durham Herald-Sun:
‘Human diversity’ draws ire
BY CAROLYN NORTON : The Herald-Sun
cnorton@heraldsun.com
Nov 19, 2005 : 5:42 pm ET

CHAPEL HILL — City school officials don’t approve of a recent state Board of Education decision that deletes specific categories of potential discrimination from the standards for high school counselors and social workers.

The state board has grouped them all together in the new standard, placing them in the rubric of, simply, “human diversity.”

But Chapel Hill-Carrboro officials plan to send a letter to the state school board, asking them to put the more specific references — such as race, creed, color, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or national origin — back in.

“Students need to know that elected officials are supportive of people with different sexual orientations, and are prepared to support them in our schools,” said Superintendent Neil Pedersen. “It’s a real issue that we must address in a forthright and positive manner.”

The issue lies in the standards and indicators for school counselors and social workers, which the state uses to evaluate education programs for teachers and other school personnel. The standards for counselors said they must be prepared to explain categories of potential discrimination, including “race, creed, color, sex role orientation, national origin and handicapping condition.”

The social workers’ standards stated they must be prepared to understand how students are affected by “race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, culture, family, community values, religion, sex, gender identification and sexual orientation.”

A critical issue

At its November meeting, the state school board agreed to replace all the categories with “human diversity” — a decision city school officials said they feared could perpetuate discrimination against students, especially those who are gay or lesbian.

While the change in standards would not affect current mental health workers in the schools, Pedersen said he worried it could influence those the district hires in the future.

“It is critical that our staff understand the issues surrounding sexual orientation,” Pedersen said, in a memo to the local school board. “Substituting the word ‘human diversity’ does not give sufficient direction to our institutions of higher education on how to prepare prospective counselors and social workers.”

But the change won’t just affect students, board member Jamezetta Bedford noted.

“Our counselors not only work with students, the policy doesn’t only support faculty — but parents, too,” she said. “I fully support this.”

Original source

Equality NC Statement on Chapel Hill School Board Letter

Equality NC Applauds Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools’ Stand Against Discrimination
Equality NC applauds the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System for taking a stand against the State Board of Education’s recent decision to remove the list of protected categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity, from the standards for training school counselors and school social workers about diversity and discrimination.

The city school system announced last week that they will be sending a letter to the State School Board asking them to put the list of protected categories back in.

“Students need to know that elected officials are supportive of people with different sexual orientations, and are prepared to support them in our schools,” said Superintendent Neil Pedersen told the Herald-Sun. “It’s a real issue that we must address in a forthright and positive manner.”

“It is critical that our staff understand the issues surrounding sexual orientation,” Pedersen said, in a memo to the local school board. “Substituting the word ‘human diversity’ does not give sufficient direction to our institutions of higher education on how to prepare prospective counselors and social workers.”

Original source


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