The Community Forum Honoring Religious Diversity in Montgomery County in early June drew over 100 people, who left in high spirits. Everyone was able to ask questions following presentations by Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, Chair of our Education Committee, and fellow members; Interim MCPS Superintendent Larry Bowers; and President of the Board of Education Patricia O’Neill. The highlight of the evening was receiving a draft of the Guidelines for Respecting Religious Diversity.
Here are the first lines of the document coming from the school system: Montgomery County Public Schools are committed to a culture of respect and equity that embraces the diversity of our community and ensures that every student has the opportunity to succeed and thrive. Part of that commitment is making sure our students have the right to express their religious beliefs and process free from discrimination, bullying, or harassment. As a system, we are committed to making feasible and reasonable accommodations for those beliefs and practices.
We are unaware of any other school system producing such a full spectrum of policies and guidelines. Thanks to our collaborative relationship, every principal, teacher, and family will have the guidelines in August. A draft version is available here.