Letter to Community: Inclusionary Environments

September 30, 2022


Gananda Families,


I want to make you aware of recent discussions within our school district in our effort to remain committed to creating a welcoming environment for all. 


First, know that our boys soccer team will be unable to play the Charles Finney School boys soccer team on October 8 because we will not have enough players to field a team that day.  Our reasons for not playing on October 8 have nothing to do with Finney's policies, handbook or beliefs.

 

I do, however, want to acknowledge that the scheduled game has caused us to review the news stories about Finney's handbook and their recent statements.  You can find news reports here: 


https://www.wxxinews.org/show/connections/2022-09-23/charles-finney-school-alumni-on-changing-the-schools-policies-related-to-lgbtq-students

 

https://13wham.com/news/local/penfield-schools-policy-to-discontinue-enrollment-of-lgbtq-students-sparks-backlash

 

We have looked at the reported information through the lens of our district commitments, policies, Title IX and New York State DASA legislation. Board Members, Administrators, student leaders, staff members, and legal counsel have provided their insight and perspectives on this matter. I have also reached out to the President of the Charles Finney School to engage in a conversation about this matter.   In light of this review, I have provided staff information to help guide decisions regarding whether Gananda will, or will not participate at specific locations.

 

The key statement to our staff is that "... If an organization, venue or association is unwilling to provide accommodations and acceptance as required by law and District policy, the Gananda School District will not participate at that location."  

 

Does this mean we will not play teams, or participate in events that include students from schools with differing attitudes?   No, this means that we will request events to occur at neutral sites or request that Gananda host the event.

 

Again, Gananda Central School District is committed to:

  • creating an environment where student identities will be acknowledged and accepted. This supportive environment will allow all students to thrive and contribute to the community
  •  establishing and maintaining equitable, respectful, and trusting environments for our families of students and community members.
  • creating an environment where staff identities will be invited and encouraged. This supportive environment will allow all staff to thrive and contribute to the community.

 

If other organizations cannot provide such environments, we will not participate at those locations. Thank you for your support on this issue.


Sincerely,


Shawn Van Scoy, Ed.D

Superintendent, Gananda Schools