(Ames, IA) -- Some parents say they're keeping their kids home from school this week because of a Black Lives Matter school discussion that includes Queer and Trans Affirmations.
In some other school districts, students have been asked to make a pledge to accepting the affirmations, but not in Ames.
"In some states they have made a pledge to support the 13 principles, but we are really having conversations about accepting and affirming differences." Says Dr. Anthony Jones, Director of Equity for Ames Community School District.
He says in Ames schools the discussions are about making sure all students feel accepted.
"It's about affirming yourself first, and how you identify, and then helping our students to affirm and appreciate and value their classmates in their celebration of themselves." Jones says.
The School District says any students who choose to learn online from home this week will not be counted absent.
From the Ames Community School District Website, the 13 Affirmations:
Black Lives Matter at School Guiding Principles
The Black Lives Matter Movement is guided by the following principles.
- Restorative Justice –We are committed to collectively, lovingly, and courageously working vigorously for freedom and justice for Black people and, by extension, all people. As we forge our path, we intentionally build and nurture a beloved community that is bonded together through a beautiful struggle that is restorative, not depleting.
- Empathy –We are committed to practicing empathy; we engage comrades with the intent to learn about and connect with their contexts.
- Loving Engagement –We are committed to embodying and practicing justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.
- Diversity –We are committed to acknowledging, respecting, and celebrating difference(s) and commonalities.
- Globalism –We see ourselves as part of the global Black family and we are aware of the different ways we are impacted or privileged as Black folk who exist in different parts of the world.
- Queer Affirming –We are committed to fostering a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking or, rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual unless s/he or they disclose otherwise.
- Trans Affirming –We are committed to embracing and making space for trans siblings to participate and lead. We are committed to being self-reflexive and doing the work required to dismantle cis-gender privilege and uplift Black trans folk, especially Black trans women who continue to be disproportionately impacted by trans-antagonistic violence.
- Collective Value –We are guided by the fact all Black lives matter, regardless of actual or perceived sexual identity, gender identity, gender expression, economic status, ability, disability, religious beliefs or disbeliefs, immigration status, or location.
- Intergenerational –We are committed to fostering an intergenerational and communal network free from ageism. We believe that all people, regardless of age, show up with the capacity to lead and learn.
- Black Families –We are committed to making our spaces family-friendly and enable parents to fully participate with their children. We are committed to dismantling the patriarchal practice that requires mothers to work “double shifts” that require them to mother in private even as they participate in justice work.
- Black Villages –We are committed to disrupting the Western prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.
- Unapologetically Black –We are unapologetically Black in our positioning. In affirming that Black Lives Matter, we need not qualify our position. To love and desire freedom and justice for ourselves is a necessary prerequisite for wanting the same for others.
- Black Women –We are committed to building a Black women affirming space free from sexism, misogyny, and male‐centeredness.
CLICK HERE for full Ames Community School web page
Graphic from Ames Community School District