Education

Sacramento district declares itself ‘safe haven’ protecting students from deportation

Sacramento City Unified trustees voted Thursday to declare its schools “safe havens” that protect students fearful of deportation or hate speech.
Sacramento City Unified trustees voted Thursday to declare its schools “safe havens” that protect students fearful of deportation or hate speech. Sacramento Bee file

Sacramento City Unified School District trustees voted unanimously Thursday to declare district schools “safe havens” that protect students against deportation and hate speech.

The resolution is a response to the “intolerant rhetoric made over the course of the 2016 presidential race” and reports of increased hate speech at district schools, according to the document.

The three-page resolution specifies that immigration officials cannot enter campuses without written permission of the superintendent and that the district will restrict sharing of student files that could help determine the legal status of students. It also calls for activities on all campuses to promote tolerance and urges investments in programs to promote the “values of a multicultural society.”

The district said it does not collect citizenship data. In 2015-16, nearly one-third of Sacramento City Unified students were English language learners or non-native speakers who can speak English fluently, according to state figures.

After Republican Donald Trump’s presidential victory, Sacramento City Unified School District trustees began hearing from parents, teachers and administrators that children were terrified that they were going to be deported, board member Jessie Ryan said this week. She said that was accompanied by an upswing in hate speech in the district, which serves about 43,000 students at 76 schools.

The Sacramento City Teachers Association, Council on American-Islamic Relations, La Familia and the Black Parallel School Board supported the resolution, according to the district.

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