EVERETT — Staff cheered and waved tiny rainbow flags as Everett Public Schools Superintendent Ian Saltzman cranked a large version atop a pole Wednesday in honor of Pride month.
The district is flying the rainbow flag at the headquarters on Broadway to support everyone who learns and works in the administration and schools.
“In Everett Public Schools, we do believe all students belong in our schools,” district diversity, equity and inclusion director Joi Odom Grant said.
It will share the rope and pole with the district’s flag, next to poles bearing the U.S. and Washington flags.
Saltzman said he hopes raising the flag and planting Everett as a place where the spectrum of gender and sexuality is welcome encourages other school districts to follow.
Staff and students told the district they wanted more inclusive curricula, said Aissa Moody, assistant for diversity, equity and inclusion.
The district bought books for all of the school libraries featuring stories about people of color, with disabilities and who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex or asexual.
About 26% of Snohomish County students in 12th grade reported their sexual orientation as something other than heterosexual in last year’s Healthy Youth Survey. More than 15,000 students in the county responded to the survey.
“A lot of our students are in fear of showing up and being their true selves,” Odom Grant said.
The Everett School District’s strategic plan calls for a workforce more representative of the student population, including ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation.
“It’s unapologetically supporting our students,” Odom Grant said.