Gregg Palmer the superintendent of schools in Brewer. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

Brewer schools adopted a new policy that says students should feel accepted and celebrated for their differences, while they also have equitable access to resources and opportunities for success.

The new equity, diversity and inclusion policy wasn’t created in reaction to an event or called for by students, Superintendent Gregg Palmer said. Instead, the Maine School Management Association recommended the new language and department leaders say it supports the larger mission of educating students.

The new policy comes at a time when schools across the nation are becoming more aware of biases that exist in their cultures.

“The beauty of public education is that we don’t curate who comes in to be educated each day,” Palmer said. “We welcome everyone, period. And research indicates that people learn better when they feel valued.”

The Brewer School Committee approved the first reading of its new policy on Monday and likely will give it final approval when it meets next month, Palmer said.

While the school department already has rules in place that protect students from harassment and discrimination, in accordance with the Maine Human Rights Act, Palmer said the new policy states in positive language that the differences between students should be celebrated instead of merely tolerated.

“Of course, we think every student is important and unique,” Palmer said. “They each have different backgrounds and characteristics that make them who they are and we know those differences make us stronger. It’s a positive statement and I hope it sends a message to students that we care about and value all of them.”

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...