The goal of this petition is to persuade Saint James School to update its outdated non-discriminatory policy to be more inclusive by adding terms such as gender identity and sexual orientation. A summary of the history of the issue is below, followed by an explanation of the importance of this issue.
A little over five months ago, I sent an email to the head administration of Saint James School expressing concern over the non-discriminatory policy, which, in July, only included "gender, race, color, religion, or national or ethnic origin." A rather sparse, minimal, and outdated policy, to be honest. SJS normally boasts about how diverse its community is, so I thought that requesting the school to update its policy to be more inclusive by adding terms such as gender identity and sexual orientation would be fairly simple and easy. I even included examples of other DC private schools with inclusive policies. I was told the issue had to be discussed with the board of trustees, and after over four months of silence, I reached out to the administration for an update. Unfortunately, SJS declined to update its non-discriminatory policy. In the explanation for doing so, it was argued that SJS does not want to "cherry pick" and that the school is challenged by a "balancing act," due to the fact that it enrolls students from many cultures and backgrounds, many of which are extremely traditional.
While Saint James School does try to make everyone feel welcomed and accepted (for the most part), in a small community such as Saint James, where there are less than 250 students, it is imperative that everyone in the community feel accepted and supported. Having attended SJS for five years, I can tell you that it is easy for a student to feel isolated and outcasted in such a small community. In addition, in today's changing times with LGBT issues becoming more prevalent, having an updated non-discriminatory policy that includes terms such as gender identity and sexual orientation is extremely important in letting students, and parents, know that their institution will be fully supportive of them. As one of my close friends stated regarding this issue, "You cannot be 'inclusive' but choosing to accept one way of life and completely ignoring another."