A resolution reaffirming the values of peace, tolerance and respect for multiple perspectives was adopted unanimously Tuesday night by the San Diego Unified School Board less than a month after Donald Trump was elected president.
The resolution was sparked by fears felt by some district students that Trump’s election would lead to the deportation of some students, their families and friends, who may be in the U.S. illegally, according to district officials.
“We call on President-elect Trump to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and to clearly articulate the rights of all students to attend school without the fear of detention and deportation,” Superintendent Cindy Marten said, reading from the resolution.
“Working to protect the rights of all students and their families is consistent with core district values of peace, compassion, tolerance, diversity, and inclusion.”
As part of the resolution, the board directed the district general counsel’s office to issue a legal memorandum to all students and staff affirming the protections for immigrant students and their families under a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the rights of students in the country without legal permission to attend public schools.
“We urge the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to affirm that schools are now and will forever be sensitive locations where they will not seek to detain and deport immigrant families who pose no threat to community safety,” said board president Michael McQuary, reading from the resolution.
“The ability of San Diego Unified to support students who feel vulnerable will help both those individual students and will help create safer schools for all students we serve,” McQuary said. “Students have reacted with grace and compassion and support for their peers following the recent election.”
The district’s Family and Community Engagement Office is organizing what it has dubbed a “Celebration of Light” to support the right of all students, regardless of race, color, national origin, immigration status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religion to be educated in an environment free from fear, violence and intimidation.
The event is free and open to anyone. It is scheduled for Dec. 14 at 4 p.m. at the Ballard Parent Center in Old Town, located at 2375 Congress St.
“Standing in solidarity with students and their families is unrelated to partisan politics and no single political party or leader has a monopoly on virtue, and the values of peace and tolerance belong equally to all Americans,” board member Sharon Whitehurst-Payne said.
“We direct the superintendent, teachers, counselors, and staff to take whatever steps necessary to maintain the safety and openness of the school community and to document these steps in an action plan to be presented to the board within 90 days.”
Before the resolution was passed, Whitehurst-Payne was sworn in to office after being elected in November. Board member John Lee Evans and board Vice President Richard Barrera were also sworn in to four-year terms.
–City News Service
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