August 6, 2016

An Open Letter to the Board of Directors of Great Hearts Arizona

Board of Directors
Great Hearts Arizona
3102 North 56th Street, Suite 300
Phoenix, AZ 85018

Dear Members of the Board,

I write to you to challenge your recent adoption of the Great Hearts Arizona school policy directed at transgender students. I understand the pressure you may feel to adopt a conservative policy, to err on the side of statutory law, and I appreciate that you may believe that you are operating in the best interest of the corporation.

However,the policy the Board adopted on June 22, 2016 is not aligned with the vision, mission and ideals of Great Hearts Academies. Great Hearts prides itself on teaching a liberal arts curriculum, allowing the students to develop the critical thinking skills necessary to be the leaders of the future. The core philosophy of Great Hearts focuses on great works of literature, art, language, rhetoric, argument, cultures, and the fair treatment of every person. This set of philosophies is in held in stark contrast to the transgender student policy the Board has adopted.

An alternative policy can be developed that ensures the safety and dignity of all students at Great Hearts schools. Great Hearts can choose to adopt a policy that simultaneously ensures the mental and physical well being of transgender students while protecting the privacy of cisgender students.

Such inclusive policies have been adopted by school districts across the Valley as well as communities in Flagstaff and Prescott. I am willing to share examples of model policies that have been developed by leading transgender advocacy groups, medical and mental health professionals, as well as the US Department of Education. Any of these policies can serve as a framework to build upon to better serve Great Hearts.

I want to see Great Hearts adopt an inclusive transgender student policy that honors the civil rights of all your students.

I ask for your thoughtful consideration.

Respectfully Yours,
A Concerned Great Hearts Parent