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Ensuring Equality of Opportunity in Our Schools

Ensuring Equality of Opportunity in Our Schools

Dr. Celine Wicks, Superintendent
Katy Lee, Board of Education President
Chresta Brinkman, Board of Education Vice President
Lara Craig, Board of Education Secretary
Alissa Merage, Board of Education Treasurer
Dr. Matthew Rice, Board of Education Member

Schools should be a haven for students to learn, grow, and discover new interests and subjects that can drive their lives in a positive direction. The years in school are when children realize their talents and passions. All opportunities to participate in sports, clubs, projects, and school activities must be open to all students, as required by law.

Passed in May 2021, Colorado H.B. 21-1108 expanded prohibitions against discrimination and mandated equal protection for all persons in all places of public accommodation, including schools. This mandate guarantees legal protections regardless of “disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, national origin, or ancestry.”

The Steamboat Springs School District’s policy AC-E-4 helps ensure compliance with H.B. 21-1108 mandates. In doing so, it creates a safe learning environment for all students and ensures every student has equal access to school programs and activities. 

We feel compelled to address the intent behind this policy due to misinformation in our community about how parents or guardians aren’t involved in these decisions. It is the mission of SSSD leadership to establish policies that enable district and school administration to work collaboratively with parents and guardians in matters regarding the health and well-being of their students. The goal is always to ensure the safety, comfort, and healthy development of all students and staff, maximizing their social integration and minimizing stigmatization and discrimination.

The guidelines in the policy are designed to address the needs of any SSSD student or employee who is transgender and/or gender nonconforming, as required by law, and to clarify how applicable law and policy should be implemented when questions arise about how to protect the legal rights and safety of our students and staff. 

The policy also explicitly encourages the involvement of parents or guardians in implementing these guidelines. The district leadership believes that such personal decisions are best left to students and parents and guardians, in consultation with their physicians and therapists. The district does not presume to have the medical, psychological, or social expertise to intercede in such decisions.

SSSD strives to provide safe, inclusive, challenging, and authentic learning experiences that prepare all students to be inspired to explore the world and contribute with integrity. All our district policies reflect that mission and are available on our website for those who wish to review them.