Request BISD Increase Engagement with Parents Regarding Sensitive Materials

Dear Superintendent and Members of the Bainbridge Island School Board,

We are parents and community members, many of whom have children in the Bainbridge Island school district. We are writing to you regarding the recent curriculum changes to sexual health education in the school district. We are concerned that these changes were passed without greater involvement from parents. Effective collaboration with parents is essential for fostering an inclusive community, and collaboration requires openness, empathy, and trust. Open communication with parents allows people of all races, sexual orientation, gender identities, religions, and creeds to be heard and respected. Without that collaboration, people feel shut out and unwelcome—the exact opposite of the inclusiveness for which we believe you are genuinely striving.

To that end, we have prepared a short list of recommendations we ask you to consider and adopt. We are confident that your attention to the items outlined in this letter will facilitate meaningful collaboration between parents and schools united in the effort to ensure that all students feel safe, supported and valued.

1.    Immediately reinstate and implement the clause that was removed from BISD Policy #2020 in March 2023, which states “It is highly recommended that staff make every reasonable effort to notify parents in advance of the use of potentially sensitive or controversial material.” This clause, passed by teachers and parents working together, strengthened trust and collaboration between parents and our schools.

2.    Provide greater transparency over what our children are being taught. In particular, give parents comprehensive access to all curricula related to health, sexuality, and gender identity, to allow parents to be involved in the decision-making on what is age appropriate for their children, particularly their elementary school children.

3.    Seek out parent involvement and feedback from a range of diverse viewpoints, in compliance with BISD Policy 1005, which states in part: “board members will seek to understand the concerns and aspirations of various segments of the community so that these perspectives can be considered in board deliberations.” Reach out via survey to all parents for feedback on these changes, and any potential future changes.

We invite the Superintendent and School Board President to meet with us to discuss these concerns and action items the week of September 10th. We believe the steps recommended above will help alleviate the concerns we have. We look forward to working with you to address these concerns to ensure that the public schools on Bainbridge Island are welcoming, inclusive, and a great choice for our kids.

By signing this petition I am stating my support for the action items above. This letter and list of signers will be submitted to the BISD School Board and Superintendent.

Bainbridge Island Parents    Contact the author of the petition

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