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Brewer School Department implements new equity, diversity & inclusion policy

Gregg Palmer, superintendent of the Brewer school department, said he felt it was an important policy for them to adopt, so he made the decision to implement it.

BREWER, Maine — The Maine School Management Association often sends out new policies and updates to school districts across the state. 

The organization recently sent out a suggested new equity, diversity, and inclusion policy which caught the eye of the Brewer School Department. 

Gregg Palmer, superintendent of the Brewer School Department, said he felt it was an important policy for them to adopt, so he made the decision to implement it this month.

While it doesn't make any direct changes to the operations and procedures of the schools, Palmer said it simply enforces that all students should feel welcomed and accepted for who they are.

"The mission of all public schools should include treating everyone as an individual and making sure everyone feels valued. If that's not true, if we can't agree on that, then I think we have bigger issues to talk about," Palmer said.

Palmer added that students learn best when they feel valued, which is what this policy supports. 

Laura Knapp, an 8th-grade teacher at Brewer Community School, said she has always tried to make her classroom a welcoming place for students.

"It's a great step in the right direction to make sure that everybody that's walking through these doors is just feeling like this is a safe space," Knapp said.

The students said they're also on board with adding a policy like this. 

"Regardless of your race, ethnicity, religion, gender, [or] sexuality, we will be welcoming you," Lindsey Baker, a Brewer High School senior, said. 

"They can represent themselves and put themselves out there, not afraid of being targeted or bullied," Cayen Philbrick, a Brewer High School junior, added.

This policy comes in an effort to continue to set a foundation that will help students thrive in the future. 

"It's just setting them up for success to not only be confident in who they are but also be confident in being kind and standing up for other people," Knapp said.

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