As educators, we are routinely faced with issues outside the classroom that impact our students’ safety, security and ability to function well in even the best learning environment. But perhaps nothing we have seen is more upsetting than yesterday’s announcement to end the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Culver City Unified School District reaffirms our belief that all school-aged students should have access to an excellent education and the opportunities that that education provides without regard to their immigration status or the immigration status of their parents. Our campuses will continue to be “safe zones.”
Our responsibility is to educate. That’s harder to do if students are living in fear. We want every single child in CCUSD to know that we will do everything in our power to keep them safe and secure. Every child in Culver City needs to know that they can trust every member of the CCUSD family, and we will continue to stand by the Success For All Means Safety For All: Culver City Unified School District Campuses as Safe Zones and Resource Centers for Students and Families resolution passed by the Board of Education in November 2016.
As a reminder, that resolution:
Continues to protect a student’s immigration status, religion, disability, or sexual orientation by not allowing staff members to ask for that information
Creates resource and information sites for students and their families on each CCUSD campus to address issues of civil rights
I want to alert our parents, students and staff that, thanks to generous grants from the Fineshriber Family Foundation, we are engaged with our nonprofit partners to provide expert legal services for immigrants and mixed-status families, and case management to help families cope. We are also generating other projects in partnership with parent groups to help affected students and their families.
What is most disturbing about today’s action to end DACA is the way it would rip families apart. Not only would the elimination of DACA protections impact high school students who are presently participating in the program, and younger students (age 10-14) who will be eligible upon turning 15, but also parents of United States citizens who arrived in this country as children. These parents would be subject to deportation even though they arrived in this country as children and would be separated from their children – many of whom are U.S. citizens.
CCUSD calls on Congress to act swiftly to enact the Dream Act or otherwise codify DACA with legislation immediately. As former President Obama said in his statement today, “What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray. What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals — that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation.”
Our District will continue to protect those values for the children and families we serve