Freeport promoting inclusivity at local schools

Local News

FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO) – The Freeport School District shared how it is making it safe for all students, no matter what gender, to attend school.

The district has created a plan that has the student sit down with staff members and their families to discuss what would make them feel most comfortable in school. The plan is designed to help with correcting names, identifying the student’s correct pronouns and even creating accommodations for where the student feels the most safe to dress for gym.

Freeport’s School Board members learned more about the district’s gender identity plan for students on Tuesday evening.

“We are maintaining a safe school for all students,” said Dr. Shalonda Randle, the Assistant Superintendent of Equity & Curriculum for the Freeport School District. “Our counselors and our social workers will begin the implementation process, and they are also considered the coordinators of this plan. Based on the conversation with the students and the parents, they will invite who they would like on the team. All of them would develop a plan with that team.”

Randle said that the main objective is for all students to feel safe.

“We want to make sure we have people in the building who the student trusts that will maintain that safety, and that is why those individuals are on the committee,” Randle said. “The student may say ‘I do not want anybody to know that I am transgender, or I am non-binary,’ but at the end of the day, they are concerned about their safety.”

Scottie Welch, the Vice President of local LGBTQ resource center “The Liam Foundation,” said that having plans like this makes it easier for students to properly learn.

“It is really hard to sit in class and learn when you have people bulling you, and making fun of you,” Welch said. “I think the most important thing is to remember while your child or student is going through that, that love and support is what they need most of all as they are trying to figure out what is going on.”

“As a school, we must protect them, and we have a plan that says we are aware, and this is what we are doing to protect those students now that we have become aware,” Randle added.

The plan come after an executive order Governor J.B. Pritzker implemented back in 2019. Randle wanted all staff to be made aware of it so they can help students succeed in the district.

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