Lakota Local Schools Announces Lakota Outreach, Diversity and Inclusion Department

Lakota Creates Outreach, Diversity and Inclusion Department
Posted on 01/10/2018
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Lakota Local Schools is proud to announce the creation of the Lakota Outreach, Diversity and Inclusion (LODI) department. This office is charged with enhancing the district’s ongoing efforts to consistently provide all students with a safe, secure and supportive learning environment free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and intimidation.

The members of this new department will be drawn from several different efforts of inclusion already underway at Lakota Schools. This includes Lakota’s extensive parent engagement and community outreach efforts, as well as the “Champions for Change” program, a group with district-wide representation that has dedicated its work over the last two years to promoting a culture of empathy and understanding among students and staff across all Lakota schools.

The department will also be charged with reviewing current administrative guidelines and procedures already in place that protect Lakota’s most vulnerable students. They will collaborate with staff, students and content experts to study current practices and then introduce measures that help ensure district-wide consistency and transparency in implementation.

The creation of LODI follows the recent vote by Lakota’s Board of Education on a proposed policy specific to transgender students. Despite its failure to pass - a move that would have placed Lakota among only two other Ohio districts to approve such a policy - the district continues to be guided by its anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies when it comes to meeting the needs of all students, including those identifying as transgender.

Lakota superintendent Matthew Miller said, “This group will be responsible for diving into the day-to-day implementation of policies and guidelines already in place to protect all of our students. They will then recommend to me how to improve the experience of students and build a consistently inclusive environment district-wide.”

“We are always looking at how we can improve our students’ Lakota experience,” Miller continued. “This is another step we are taking to ensure that all of our students feel safe, secure and supported while at school. We have no choice but to help facilitate tolerance and acceptance so that students can focus on learning.”

The Lakota Board of Education does not anticipate another vote on a policy dedicated to gender identity and expression in the near future. Instead, the district has charged the LODI department to not only study, but recommend changes to existing administrative guidelines. This may include the recommendation of additional professional development for staff, students and community members and other measures to more fully and consistently meet students’ needs.