Update | Supporting Student Voice in a Safe Learning Environment

Nov. 26, 2021

​The following message was sent to parents and guardians of CBE high school s​tudents on Nov. 26, 2021.

Dear CBE Parents and Guardians,

Over the past two weeks, we have heard from our high school students, staff and administration that there are concerns with the way our system and our schools manage, respond to and address student concerns and complaints related to sexual harassment and assault.

A significant number of CBE students have expressed their concerns by walking out of class, staging protests, and sharing their stories through social media, news media, and directly to their school leadership and my office.

Student voice is critical to the operation of our school system. Ensuring that students feel safe, heard and valued can positively impact their ability to learn.

This week I met with all CBE high school principals and education directors. I asked them to share what they have heard from their students in response to these protests and concerns specifically, and I asked them to consider what additional supports may be required.

The CBE has many established policies, processes and expectations in place to address concerns and student safety. These situations are complex for many reasons and respecting the privacy of those involved is very important. However, it is clear that we must do more.

All CBE schools and staff work hard to ensure that our schools are safe, welcoming and caring environments that support student learning. Our high schools continue to engage in this important work with their school communities. School leaders are supporting ongoing dialogue and further fostering an environment where all students know how to report a concern, and where the concerns expressed by students and staff are acknowledged appropriately.

Senior leaders will be working with schools to review what is being heard from students, the actions schools are taking and possible resources that ultimately result in safe, welcoming, caring and respectful learning environments. We will continue to further this work with our school communities and I encourage you to share your thoughts and concerns with your child’s principal.

Christopher Usih
Chief Superintendent of Schools