Crossposted from the Superintendent’s Blog.
Dear Seattle Public Schools Families,
On Sept. 5, 2017, President Trump directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to phase out and eventually end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program over the next two and half years.
DACA has protected nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation and given them an opportunity to achieve the American dream.
We recognize this directive has heightened a sense of anxiety and fear for our families and students. Seattle Public Schools stands with our governor, state attorney general, local legislative delegation and elected city and county leaders against the end of DACA. We have hope that Congress will act swiftly to find a positive solution.
Seattle Public Schools is committed to educating children regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, country of origin or immigration status. We will do whatever it takes to make sure every student thrives and want to reassure you, that we will do everything within our power to make sure all of our children are safe, honored and respected while in our care.
In support of this commitment, we articulated our response to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in our superintendent procedures this last school year and shared the information with school staff. Key points include:
- The district will never ask for or record information regarding student or family immigration status.
- If an agent from ICE requests information about a student, or requests access to a school building or district property, staff will refer the agent to the district Office of the General Counsel.
- Seattle Public Schools’ general counsel will review credentials and submission of written authority to conduct action before making a determination whether to grant approval of access.
- In addition, we are working in partnership with the Family Unity Project of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) to ensure that the children and families of students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools are able to access immigration-related legal services from NWIRP. Individuals who would like to request assistance from the Family Unity Project may contact Kayley Bebber for an intake interview at 206-957-8649 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We believe in the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms, protections and opportunities it provides. Together, we must defend the values we hold and stand up for each other. I appreciate the trust you put in Seattle Public Schools and we will do everything we can to protect the rights of our school community, including those of our immigrant students and families.
Read the School Board resolution adopted Feb. 15, 2017, “Resolution Affirming the Provision of Safe, Welcoming, and Inclusive Schools for All Students Without Regard to Race, Religion, National Origin, or Immigration Status.”
Dr. Larry Nyland
Seattle Public Schools