San Francisco Board of Education unanimously adopts resolution to increase support of immigrant students and their families
The San Francisco Board of Education (SFUSD) has unanimously approved a student-led resolution, “Undocumented, Unafraid and United,” reaffirming and strengthening district policies to protect and support immigrant students and their families.
"We are at a time when we have to do everything possible to protect our students,” said Board President Shamann Walton. “We are a sanctuary city and district and we fight for all students and families regardless of status and ensuring that all levels of government cannot attack or intimidate our students is a part of what I consider my obligation in this role. I would do it for every last one of our students under attack by any administrations or anyone promoting bigotry, separation and hate! This resolution is just one step in protecting our students.”
In response to increasing tensions in immigrant communities, SFUSD student leaders, along with Board of Education commissioners, reinforced their commitment to ensuring all students have the right to attend school regardless of their immigration status or the status of family members.
“Democracy is not people in power making decisions,” said the resolution’s lead author and delegate to the SFUSD Student Advisory Council, Maria Zaragoza. “It’s about making sure everyone’s voices get heard. I encourage you to interact with the students and families because it makes you think about how courageous they are and the things they go through. We work for the students here. That’s what we’re here for.”
The new policy reinforces district policy which requires, with the exception of the San Francisco Police and Sheriff's Department, any request accompanied by a warrant, from a law enforcement agency or immigration enforcement agency to access students, records, lands or buildings, to be immediately referred to the Superintendent and the district’s Legal Department. The district will determine the validity of the warrant and immediately explore all options for legal challenges to the warrant.
Furthermore, the policy specifically calls for the creation or expansion of a central resource with expertise in assisting undocumented students and their families to access academic supports and community services. The policy also requires the district to provide staff stipends for an Immigrant and Refugee Liaison at each middle and high school to support undocumented students and their families.
In addition, the following programs and professional development opportunities will be formally required under the new policy: specialized training for all counseling staff to effectively support undocumented students; bullying prevention and intervention programs for immigrant students; information to all students about the role of immigrants in history and economics; and expansion of existing community partnerships to provide legal assistance for students and their families.
Page updated on 05/24/17