Open letter from IUSD Superintendent
In IUSD, we enjoy a rich diversity of cultures, languages, religions and viewpoints. We know that this diversity enables our students to understand and embrace our differences – it is our strength. We also know that our students need to hear and to see examples of respectful dialogue and discussion. They need to trust that they can express their ideas without fear of censure or retribution. IUSD staff is committed to the values of equity and inclusion, which means supporting the right of all students to express their feelings and opinions, respectfully.
This past election year offered many teachable moments. Our educators have facilitated thoughtful discussions in classes throughout our schools. However, the tone and tenor of the current political discourse has raised concerns for some of our students and their families. These concerns have been communicated to the District Office and to our schools. The sentiments expressed stem from what our children have observed from an election that was, at times, uncivil and contradicted the respectful exchange of ideas we expect from our children at school and at home.
While we must refrain from endorsing any political point of view, we do have a responsibility to ensure our campuses are safe and that our students are respectful of each other. To this end, all IUSD schools implement what is known as Positive Behavior Interventions Support (PBIS). Among the many benefits of PBIS, it establishes values, expectations and guidelines for positive student behavior, irrespective of the behaviors students may observe through the media and in our society today. PBIS is a constant on IUSD campuses and our staff has continued to remind students about the importance of being good citizens who represent respectful and appropriate interactions with their fellow students and those in our community. We will not tolerate bullying or discrimination for any reason in our schools.
Please take a moment to discuss the importance of respectful dialogue with your children and we will continue to do the same at school. If your child needs support or help expressing any concerns or fears he or she may have, please contact your school principal or school psychologist. You may also contact the Irvine Family Resource Center for additional resources. The safety and wellbeing of our students is our top priority.
Thank you for your continued engagement, partnership and support, which enables IUSD to best serve our students.
Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools,
Irvine Unified School District