Phoenix Union High School District Makes a Statement

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Phoenix Union High School District issued a statement of its commitment to "excellence and equality for all students . . . every single one of the young lives entrusted to us." According to the press release, the statement was created "in response to the concerns of many parents, students and staff following the election cycle." It's a model for any school district wanting to affirm its commitment to the safety and welfare of all its students.

I'm including the entire statement, but first I want to spotlight the words at the end.

As a district, we make the following commitments:

We will continue to strengthen and implement processes that authentically raise up student voice.

We will work together - side by side and with all willing stakeholders - to address issues of race, of poverty, of discrimination, and of hate.

We will stand behind our Phoenix Union DACA recipients and DREAMers regardless of changes in law or policy. We will continue to work with community, city, state, and national leaders to create opportunities for our DACA and DREAMer students and their families so that they may thrive personally and academically. Our campuses will remain safe places for our students and their families.

Phoenix Union will continue to shun hate, judgment, violence, discrimination, and divisiveness. Instead, we will promote peace, acceptance, inclusivity, and compassion.

We choose love.

We choose our students and families.

Every single one of them.
The entire statement is below:

We, the Phoenix Union High School District, are proud to serve nearly 28,000 beautiful young men and women. Our students speak 74 different languages, are multi-lingual and multi-cultural, have limitless potential to thrive and contribute to the prosperity and well- being of others and this economy, and nearly all live at or below the federal poverty line. In serving such a diverse population of learners, we are committed to excellence and equity for all students. By all students, we mean all - every single one of the young lives entrusted to us.

Neither an election season nor any subsequent policy changes will ever cause us to waver in our commitment and our belief in each and every student that passes through a gate or over a threshold of a Phoenix Union campus or classroom.

In light of the current national story lines – the election, the movement for Black lives, the fierce divide on transgender rights, the political rhetoric surrounding immigration, the threats against religious communities, and the many other headlines that crowd social and traditional media - Phoenix Union wants to reiterate its commitment to our students and clarify our stance amidst the political uncertainty that currently affects our students and their families.

Our stance is simple. We choose to love and protect our students.

We will value all lives equally - black lives, brown lives, disabled lives, undocumented lives, GLBT lives, gifted lives, refugee lives, female lives, and every other category or subgroup or demographic that may be stigmatized. We will love and accept everyone. We will create a warm and welcoming learning environment for all students. We will build authentic relationships with our young adults. We will find ways to engage our students in meaningful academics, arts, athletics, and activities that develop in them the necessary skills and attributes to play an important role in this democracy. We will let our students know, each and every day, how much we love, support, and care about them, their families, and their future.

We do not believe that adults must be the only voice for our students. Our students have thoughts, opinions, passions, hopes, and dreams. It is our role to help foster their aspirations, to help provide space for them to talk through difficult issues, and to help them help us find solutions to our biggest issues. Our kids are not just the leaders of tomorrow - they are the leaders of today. We must use this valuable resource.

As a district, we make the following commitments:

We will continue to strengthen and implement processes that authentically raise up student voice.

We will work together - side by side and with all willing stakeholders - to address issues of race, of poverty, of discrimination, and of hate.

We will stand behind our Phoenix Union DACA recipients and DREAMers regardless of changes in law or policy. We will continue to work with community, city, state, and national leaders to create opportunities for our DACA and DREAMer students and their families so that they may thrive personally and academically. Our campuses will remain safe places for our students and their families.

Phoenix Union will continue to shun hate, judgment, violence, discrimination, and divisiveness. Instead, we will promote peace, acceptance, inclusivity, and compassion.

We choose love.

We choose our students and families.

Every single one of them.

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