Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist posts message on immigration and gender at Tulsa Public Schools

TULSA -- Tulsa Superintendent Deborah Gist took to Facebook Thursday to share a message on immigration and gender at Tulsa Public Schools.

The post reads in part, "We do not ask for immigration status when families enroll their children. We would not share information about immigration status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services." The post goes on to list the legal reason for not sharing the information.

Read Gist's full statement below:

"Every family has a place at Tulsa Public Schools. We are an inclusive and affirming community of learners who value and celebrate diversity in all of its forms, including race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender identity, and gender expression. Our diversity is a community treasure that enriches teaching, learning, and working experiences in our district.

We know that our community members have questions, concerns, and fears around recent changes to federal policies. While national policy may be changing, our commitment to safe and supportive school communities is unwavering.

Equity is one of our core values, and we have policies in place that prohibit discrimination or harassment of our students, families, or employees on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender identity, gender expression, and other protected classes.

Here are some important things to know about how we live our core values:

We do not ask for immigration status when families enroll their children. We would not share information about immigration status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Supreme Court's 1982 decision in Plyler vs. Doe found that every child has a constitutional right to equal access to education regardless of their immigration status, and we welcome immigrant and refugee families at Tulsa Public Schools.

We honor the dignity and equality of our transgender and gender non-conforming students. These students have the right to present themselves in a way that is consistent with their gender identity so long as rules are followed for appropriate dress that apply to all students. They also have the right to use restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities that are consistent with their gender identity. This may include the use of gender neutral restrooms. We recognize the privacy of students in transition and would not disclose information about gender identity or expression without their consent.

In times of uncertainty, fear, or confusion, we recognize that children are looking to the adults around them to make sense of what they are seeing and hearing. We must strive to model acceptance and inclusion and encourage our students to be the change-makers and leaders who - together - will build brighter futures for us all."

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