Board of Education Passes Highly-Supported Resolution of Opposition

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Julia Zenkevich/90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh School Board Directors unanimously approved a highly-applauded resolution in opposition of Republican-led legislative efforts. The resolution was approved during the November 22nd legislative meeting in which board members condemned attempts by Republicans in the Pennsylvania State Assembly and Senate, primarily targeting attacking inclusive and historically relevant education.

The resolution was introduced by School Board Director Ms. Devon Taliaferro. 

The resolution says the efforts of the Republicans in the PA state government would “prohibit our educators from accurately teaching history, improperly bans anti-bias training, and would make culturally relevant teaching nearly impossible.”

Saul Straussman, Social Studies teacher at Allderdice and PFT leader, stated, “As a dedicated member of the PFT and committed educator in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, I applaud the district’s stand opposing the efforts of some of the members of the Pennsylvania Assembly and Senate to stigmatize and target specific groups within our school community.”

School Board Director Pam Harbin, who serves Allderdice in PPS District 4, said in a statement, “I wholeheartedly supported this resolution to send a message that the Pittsburgh Public School Board formally opposes and rejects any legislation that suppresses classroom discussion, promotes fear, intolerance, and hate, and devalues staff, students and families of color, and LGBTQ+ students, staff, and families.” Harbin adds, “through policy and governance, we stand firm in our commitment to stand with students who want to combat and dismantle racism, sexism, bias, and discrimination.”

The School District has a comprehensive nondiscrimination plan regarding transgender policy. In the 2016 policy it declared a mission to “creating a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students that is free from discrimination, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression and to ensuring that every student has equal access to all components of the educational program.” It also proclaims the School District’s compliance with applicable state and federal laws regarding the discrimination and harrassment.

The Board of Education will submit a copy of their approved resolution to various PA state legislative officials and the Governor’s Office.

The resolution received support from public hearing speakers which included parents, community leaders, and teachers, during the Board’s public hearing–the day before.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Nina Sacco said, “I applaud the Board of Directors for their leadership with the passage of this resolution.” She also added on PPS’s efforts to support LGBTQ+ students, “[We have] a Queer Equity Committee. Members of this committee work to support LGBTQ+ students and staff.