Rev. Dave Brauer-Rieke, bishop of the Oregon Synod (ELCA), wrote a letter to the editor of the Oregonian praising the Oregon Department of Education’s guidance to school districts on creating safe and supportive school environment for transgender students. See the full letter and text of school-district guidelines in the bishop’s letter below:
Dear Casey Parks,
Thank you for the article on May 5, 2016 in OregonLive, lifting up the contents of the guidelines released by the Oregon Department of Education: Guidance to School Districts: Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment for Transgender Students Issued May 5, 2016. (http://media.oregonlive.com/education_impact/other/Transgender%20Student%20Guidance%205-5-16.pdf)
As the Bishop of the Oregon Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I am writing to express support for the Oregon Department of Education’s guidelines. As a church, we too recognize the importance of safety and equity for all students. We are grateful for this conscientious document that provides ways for schools to value and support their transgender students. We also appreciate the helpful definitions of terminology, practical examples and stories from students’ lives. This document addresses important issues such as harassment, bullying, safety, restrooms, school activities, and preferred names and pronouns. It is uplifting to read a document that is so thoughtful and intentional about protecting transgender students and helping them flourish in positive learning environments.
While many of us are still learning about gender identity, and what it means to be transgender, we as the church seek to recognize that child of God, in each and every person, who is worthy of honor and respect. As we learn more about the varied and wonderful people in our midst, we are moved to help keep all people safe from harm and harassment.
With you we in the ELCA celebrate the LGBTQIA community working with us in this state, recognizing their unique experiences, insights and understandings.
Thank you for sharing this good news.
Bp. Dave Brauer-Rieke
Oregon Synod – ELCA