On April 5, 2021, GLAD Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto delivered testimony in support of LD 633, a Resolve Directing the Maine Department of Education to Implement Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Training for Educators, and LD 880, An Act to Prohibit School Employees from Workplace Bullying.

As the National Association of Elementary School Principals has explained, “Ninety-six percent of major employers say it is ‘important’ that employees be comfortable working with colleagues, customers, and/or clients from diverse cultural backgrounds. These statistics make it imperative that our nation’s schools not only welcome diversity in the classroom but also teach students how to navigate an increasingly racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse society and global economy.”

To those ends, LD 633 assists school staff by ensuring they continue building knowledge and cultural competencies to engage and foster success for all of their students and to increase students’ abilities to cooperate across differences. This bill would direct the Department of Education (MDOE) and the State Board of Education to amend their rules to require diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) training as a condition of recertification for teachers and some administrative staff. LD 880 supports school employees as they teach and support our children and young people by adding “school employees” to those protected by the existing anti-bullying law, and also adding a prohibition against interfering with their work performance or their ability to participate in work-related school activities.

Read Mary’s full testimony here.