Message from Mayor Berkowitz and Dr. Bishop regarding student diversity and safe schools

 

February 10, 2017

 

This message is shared on behalf of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and Dr. Deena Bishop.

 

The Anchorage public school system is one of the largest school districts in the United States. We celebrate the fact that we have the three most diverse high schools, the six most diverse middle schools, and 19 of the top 20 most diverse elementary schools in the nation. Our students and their families speak more than 100 languages. Each day, languages from around the world are spoken in the hallways and classrooms of our schools. This enriches the educational experience for all students.


Recent Executive Orders impact our community’s immigrant and refugee populations, causing anxiety and concern for our students and their families. As Mayor and Superintendent, we stand together to reassure our community that our public schools do not, and will not, monitor the immigration or citizenship status of our students. Federal requirements are clear – they guarantee that schools are safe spaces for all children, regardless of citizenship or residency status. The reasons behind these requirements are also clear – all students have the right to be in school regardless of citizenship status or residency status. In Anchorage, we are committed to ensuring a safe, successful education for all of our students.


The Anchorage School District welcomes everyone. We want to help every student grow, achieve, and succeed in life. Most importantly, we want our students and their families to know the safety of all students and staff is our top priority. This includes being safe from bullying, intimidation, threat, and harm. As a public school district, it is our responsibility to ensure our buildings are safe spaces where every student is supported not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well.


We want our students and their families to understand that we have heard and understand the fear and uncertainty that has followed from recent federal action, and want to make sure that families know that our job is to ensure children will be safe in our schools. We are a better school district and a better community when we stand together and take care of each other.

 

Respectfully,

 

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz         Dr. Deena Bishop
Municipality of Anchorage        Anchorage School District Superintendent

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