Abington School District Expands its Nondiscrimination Policy

The amendments are in line with the district's new nondiscrimination statment.

The Abington School Board approved a motion last night amending several of the district’s policies to reflect the district’s relatively new nondiscrimination statement and policy.

In late March, the board approved a modified professional and nonprofessional employee policy; “sexual orientation” and “gender identity/expression” were added as protected classes.

See that story here.

School board President Raymond McGarry said the board directed the district’s administration to identify other district policies that include a nondiscrimination statement … and align those policies with the updated one.

The five policy sections affected in yesterday’s motion are: curriculum, regarding nondiscrimination of students in the classroom; human resources, regarding harassment by and of district employees; students, regarding bullying; students, regarding student offenses and discipline procedures; and technology, regarding networked information practices for students and staff.

The district’s modified nondiscrimination policy statement reads: The District is committed to equal opportunity without discrimination by reason of race, color, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, gender, age disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or religion.

The amendments passed in one reading—an exception to the school board’s policy. Abington School District spokesman Byron Goldstein said the motion passed after one reading because they were “minor amendments” to the policies.

Jules.Mermelstein@gmail.com August 11, 2011 at 02:57 PM
It is commendable that the school district did this. It is a shame that the Abington Township Commissioners are too bigoted to do the same thing.
John Monaghan August 11, 2011 at 04:02 PM
It is unfortunate that Mr. Mermelstein feels compelled to toss around invective. Honest people can have an honest disagreement over the impact of a proposed policy change. Demonizing opponents usually shows a lack of intellectual rigor.
tedtaylor August 11, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Does this also mean that insiders will no longer get all the school district jobs? What's really sad is that they are essentially legislating decency and behavior that should be expected in the first place. It's, of course, a further reflection of "The age of entitlement" (instead of working for and fairly earning things).
Dianna Reiser Pax August 12, 2011 at 09:00 AM
Mr. Monaghan, I can certainly see why you deem the word "bigot" an invective. To be fair, assuming one has a 'lack of intellectual rigor' seems to play along the same emotional lines -- perhaps not as demonizing the opponent but as being similarly insulting. As this is very common in informal, abridged debate, I'm sure both labels can be seen as a small bump and issues of policy can be discussed in more detail from here. It is important to note that the Commissioners have the power to assure that marginalized groups are not denied their civil rights. They are in a position to make a clear statement on equity in our community and to cause actual change to Institutional/Systematic Discrimination as it exists. Our Commissioners have expressed that they are not bigots. I believe that they are being honest. This does not, however, change the fact that they have the means to make sure that the civil rights of Abington citizens are protected on a local level. I do believe that this is in-line with what most of the Commissioners want, but a host of various objections to the passage of an ordinance has entered the debate. Since the rights of citizens are basic -- harking back even to the earliest of our documents -- I hope that citizens of Abington will continue to express to the Commissioners, in good faith, that our community will see an overall benefit from the passage of a thorough, effective nondiscrimination ordinance.
Dianna Reiser Pax August 12, 2011 at 09:11 AM
Mr. Taylor , I think that the School Board expects decent behavior and that changing the policy reflects that expectation. Legislation can give citizens redress, which is a basic tenet of our country. I argue that an education free from abject discrimination is a right; it is an entitlement (not in the pejorative connotation) based on the moral principle that all are created equal. One should not have to struggle to be treated with basic human dignity. And although we might differ in opinion on the rights of man, I share your ethic of hard work and fairness.


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