California School News February 2017 : Page 1

school n ews California Advocacy, 2 Learning, 4-5 February 2017 Vol. 23, #2 What’s I nside » Transportation COLA bill; 2017 CSBA-sponsored legislation Leadership, 3 » Vantage Point: Storm relief needed for pension increase crisis » Online accountability dashboard unveiled » Share your skills at AEC 2017 Creating a ‘safe haven’ for students in uncertain times New federal executive orders on immigration have alarmed families and many school districts have expressed concern about the potential impact on California’s students. Although the situation is fluid, school board trustees should keep a few facts in mind: » The United States Supreme Court ruled in Plyler v. Doe that public schools cannot deny students an education based on immigration status. » Public schools cannot inquire about a student’s immigration status as part of the process to establish residency. » Immigration and Customs Enforcement has traditionally abided by its policy to avoid sensitive locations such as schools except in emergencies, but it’s not clear if this will continue. » “Sanctuary” or “safe haven” resolutions are good tools for communicating your district’s values, rights and responsibili-ties where undocumented students are concerned. They do not provide immunity, legal or otherwise, from ICE activity. “In the wake of immigration-related executive orders, it is important that direc-tors recognize and uphold the responsibility of school districts to serve all students,” said CSBA CEO and Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. “Families that fear immigration enforcement may keep their children home from school, interfering with the student’s ability to learn. School board members can help mitigate this through a clear statement of values and intent, such as those outlined in CSBA’s legal guid-ance, sample resolution and sample policies.” CSBA’s legal guidance is informed by the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe , 457 U.S. 202 (1982). In Plyler, the Court ruled that, under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, if a state provides a free public education to U.S. citizens, it cannot deny such an education to undocumented children. The court found that to deny students a basic education because of their immigration status was to deny them “the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our Nation.” Although schools owe the same duty to all students, families concerned about immigration enforcement by the federal government may, unfortunately, act on these concerns and keep their children home from school. If this occurs, students’ ability to learn will be shortchanged. Public schools may not ask for a student’s immigration status to establish residency or deny enrollment due to lack of documen-tation, such as social security numbers or birth certificates. Immigration and Customs Enforcement currently has a policy in place to avoid immigration enforcement at “sensitive” continued on page 5 » New report highlights how science instruction can increase English learner achievement Onthe W eb csba.org/Newsroom: » Visit www.csba.org/Newsroom for links to digital versions of current and past issues of California School News.

Creating A ‘Safe Haven’ For Students In Uncertain Times

New federal executive orders on immigration have alarmed families and many school districts have expressed concern about the potential impact on California’s students. Although the situation is fluid, school board trustees should keep a few facts in mind:

» The United States Supreme Court ruled in Plyler v. Doe that public schools cannot deny students an education based on immigration status.

» Public schools cannot inquire about a student’s immigration status as part of the process to establish residency.

» Immigration and Customs Enforcement has traditionally abided by its policy to avoid sensitive locations such as schools except in emergencies, but it’s not clear if this will continue.

» “Sanctuary” or “safe haven” resolutions are good tools for communicating your district’s values, rights and responsibilities where undocumented students are concerned. They do not provide immunity, legal or otherwise, from ICE activity.

“In the wake of immigration-related executive orders, it is important that directors recognize and uphold the responsibility of school districts to serve all students,” said CSBA CEO and Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. “Families that fear immigration enforcement may keep their children home from school, interfering with the student’s ability to learn. School board members can help mitigate this through a clear statement of values and intent, such as those outlined in CSBA’s legal guidance, sample resolution and sample policies.”

CSBA’s legal guidance is informed by the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982). In Plyler, the Court ruled that, under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, if a state provides a free public education to U.S. citizens, it cannot deny such an education to undocumented children. The court found that to deny students a basic education because of their immigration status was to deny them “the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our Nation.”

Although schools owe the same duty to all students, families concerned about immigration enforcement by the federal government may, unfortunately, act on these concerns and keep their children home from school. If this occurs, students’ ability to learn will be shortchanged.

Public schools may not ask for a student’s immigration status to establish residency or deny enrollment due to lack of documentation, such as social security numbers or birth certificates. Immigration and Customs Enforcement currently has a policy in place to avoid immigration enforcement at “sensitive” locations, including schools, except under “exigent circumstances” such as national security, terrorism, or public safety, although it is not clear how long the policy will continue as changes to immigration enforcement are made.

Many school boards have already taken steps to let families and students know that their schools are “sanctuaries” or “safe havens,” and that schools will continue to serve all students equally regardless of immigration status. At the same time, it’s important to remember that school districts have no legal authority over immigration enforcement, even on campus, and that the “sanctuary” or “safe haven” designation is no guarantee against ICE activity. To help understand where the lines are drawn, CSBA has drafted a legal guidance and a sample resolution to aid school boards in drafting resolutions of their own. The legal guidance and sample resolution are available at www.csba.org/LegalResources.

Board members can play a crucial role by setting the tone for their districts and schools and establishing inclusive policies to provide welcoming environments for all students and their families. In keeping with California’s commitment to educate all students, CSBA has recently updated Board Policy 5111 (Admission) and 5111.1 (District Residency) to further incorporate the principle that school districts in California will continue to serve all students and work to ensure school campuses are a welcoming environment for all students, regardless of nationality or immigration status.

In addition, all county offices and districts should have policies in place to prevent discrimination or harassment of students and families. (See CSBA’s Sample Board Policy on Bullying BP 5131.2(a) and its companion documents, CSBA Sample Board Policy Nondiscrimination/Harassment BP 5145.3 and CSBA Sample Board Policy on Student Disturbances BP 5131. 4(a).)

Board members should ensure that their county or district offices and schools have access to current and accurate information that can help answer questions or guide community members in need of assistance. It may be helpful for administrators to identify experts within their staff or community organizations that can answer questions accurately. Preparing documents in multiple languages, such as FAQs and a resource list, can also be helpful.

Read the full article at http://news.csba.org/article/Creating+A+%E2%80%98Safe+Haven%E2%80%99+For+Students+In+Uncertain+Times/2738247/393012/article.html.

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