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January 9; An Important Message from the Superintendent

We have recently received questions and emails and have been made aware of social media discussion
concerning a presentation that took place at the High School at the beginning of the week. On behalf of
the district, I want to express how much we value the opinions that have been shared. These discussions
have been invaluable to us on many levels and I think that it is important to provide the following
information as a follow up from many of the conversations that have taken place as they are really what
define an educational institution.
First and foremost, I want to acknowledge that we all agree that this information was not received in the
way we had hoped and we have a responsibility to our students to reflect on how to do a better job in the
future. Some of the most valuable feedback we received came directly from our students and it is
impossible not to be impressed with the way they have articulated their opinions and expressed their
feelings. I often hear teachers and coaches say that they learn much from their students over the course of
their career and this is certainly an example of why that is true.
The Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) illustrates the State’s commitment to ensuring that all students
are educated in a safe and supportive school environment. The Valley Central School District is
committed to providing all students, including transgender and gender-nonconforming students, with an   
environment free from discrimination and harassment and to ensure that all students are educated in a safe
and a supportive school environment.
In order to accomplish this, it is important that we provide an environment where all students are able to
express their opinions and beliefs equally without fear of retaliation or retribution – especially when
discussing sensitive or controversial topics. The Valley Central School District has a Board of Education
Policy that speaks directly to teaching about controversial issues and ensuring objectivity through
research and presenting varying opinions. While the goal of this presentation was meant to be solely
informational and bring awareness about the laws that we need to abide by specific to sexual orientation,
gender, and sex, and was in no way intended to influence personal beliefs, this was not communicated
effectively. A number of our students did not feel comfortable and we owe those students an apology and
all students a commitment to do better.
Valley Central is recognized as a district that is willing to take on difficult topics as part of our education
mission and I am proud to be the Superintendent of a district that has the courage to engage our students
in difficult and respectful discussions. The students of our district are so lucky to have good families and a
community that supports education. On behalf of the district, I want to express my sincere gratitude to
those who have reached out to us and ensure you that we are committed to taking the time to reflect and
have the discussions needed to continue to offer the best educational experience we can provide for our
students in an environment that ensures safety and protection of the rights of all.