Speaking to a group of students, parents and community members at the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Rainbow Hub Potluck and Gathering, LCPS Superintendent Dr. Greg Ewing reaffirmed his commitment to provide a safe, welcoming and learning-focused environment for all students. The meeting was held Wednesday, Sept. 6 at Peace Lutheran Church, 1701 Missouri Ave.

“Our goal as a district is to ensure that every student receives the best education possible,” Ewing said. “By creating a safe, welcoming environment, based on dignity and respect, we can help ensure each and every student learns and grows in a supportive environment.”

Ewing was joined by Board of Education President Maria Flores and the National Education Association of Las Cruces President Bruce Hartman, who each spoke about the importance of supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) students. Flores also discussed the possibly of creating a school board policy to offer added protections for LGBTQ students.

Ewing went on to detail the district’s ongoing plans to address issues like bullying, and the district’s future plans to establish at least one gender-neutral restroom at every school in the district. Some schools in the district have already identified a gender-neutral restroom after receiving requests from parents who have transgender children in LCPS.

He also mentioned that the newly created LCPS Department of Equity, Innovation and Social Justice has begun to offer training and support to all of the Gay-Straight Student Alliance clubs at the high schools, with the goal of establishing a safe space at each school where students can get support and assistance from a trained LCPS staff member.

According to the PFLAG Las Cruces website, PFLAG is the nation’s largest family and ally organization committed to advancing equality and full societal affirmation of LGBTQ people through its threefold mission of support, education, and advocacy. The Las Cruces Chapter of PFLAG was founded in 1995 by Co-founders Susan Brown and NM Senator Bill Soules. The group was formed as a way to connect with other family members who were struggling with finding peace and support for their LGBTQ loved ones. The PFLAG Las Cruces Chapter is one of more than 350 chapters throughout the United States.