FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement from New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa
Many of New York’s students are enjoying the week off from school following Monday’s celebration of President’s Day. This school break gives students, their families and their communities an opportunity to reflect on our country’s history, what we stand for, and what makes our state and our nation so special. To me, America’s greatness lies in our diversity, our tolerance, and our willingness to accept and welcome others – regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability to speak English, or any other basis. I know that my colleagues on the Board of Regents, who represent every community in the State of New York, believe as I do that we must focus on the things that bring us together as a society, and to reject in the strongest possible way those things that divide and diminish us.
In the days following the presidential election – in response to reports of disturbing incidents of bias and hate-based acts of bigotry – Commissioner Elia and Attorney General Schneiderman issued guidance to school districts to help ensure that our schools are safe havens where students are free to learn without fear of discrimination, harassment or intimidation. Sadly, reports of vandalism, harassment, bullying, and even violence continue to surface, both here in New York and throughout the country. To be clear, this is a matter of concern not only for our schools, but for all of our institutions. So we will seize this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the ideals of inclusiveness and openness that make us the Empire State.
During this week when we celebrate our nation’s greatest presidents, I hope that students, their families and their communities will take some time to think about and reflect upon the countless things that unite us and focus on respect, tolerance and inclusion. It is the most important lesson we can ever learn.
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