Friends and Families,
This past week has been at the least interesting, and at the most – nearly – divisive. This week the leadership with the Sarasota County Schools released a document providing their guidance for gender diverse populations. Please understand that these are not policy, but rather a guiding document for schools to refer. I would like to set all of your minds at ease by expressing the following guidance from the SMA Leadership Team:
- First and foremost, ALL cadets, regardless of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender and gender orientation, age, disability, marital status, and sexual orientation are valued as members of our community and will be treated with RESPECT.
- Any type of harassment will not be tolerated, and any accusations of harassment should be reported immediately.
- Sharing of personal cadet information is a violation of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
With these understandings in place, and under the guidance of best practices and policies, the accommodations to be implemented in the case of gender diverse cadets are based on case by case circumstances by a team that considers the health, wellness, and academic success of all cadets impacted.
- Gender diverse refers to the social construct that may include gender identity and gender expression.
- The determination of accommodations for the gender diverse cadet will be determined by a team that includes the cadet, administration, parent/guardian, counseling, and an advocate if requested.
- A plan will be developed that meets the privacy needs of the gender diverse cadet, as well as all cadets.
- Uniforms will be issued to match the most consistently identified gender identity as determined by the team. This guideline is supported by JROTC protocol.
- Restroom use will be determined and agreed upon by the team to ensure privacy and comfort levels of all cadets. There are multiple types of restrooms on each campus, to include; single use and traditional with multiple private stalls. These restrooms are for the use of all cadets, but if your cadet has a legitimate privacy concern, the use of the single use restroom may be made available at administration’s discretion. Any cadets have concerns for their own privacy should speak first with the Teacher, and any accommodations will be approved by administration.
- Locker Rooms use will be determined and agreed upon by the team to ensure privacy and comfort levels of all cadets. Each locker room has privacy options available, and the scheduled use of locker rooms can be arranged to address any privacy concerns. Any cadets have concerns for their own privacy should speak first with the Teacher, and any accommodations will be approved by administration.
I cannot stress enough that each individual within our SMA family must at all times be treated with respect, as this is a foundational value of who we are. I fully trust the integrity of our cadets, staff, and faculty to value every individual and provide them with this respect. If you have any follow up questions or concerns, I would be happy to meet with you. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com, or make an appointment through the front office to meet with me.
SMA-LTC Frederick T. Fout
Head of School