The Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District Board of Trustees took a major step to assure students, regardless of their immigration status, will be protected at school from federal agencies trying to seek out and deport illegal immigrants.
The new presidential administration’s increased enforcement of immigration laws has worried thousands of children and parents throughout the state. Many fear the United States Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) will enter a campus and pull a student out of class because of his or her immigration status.
The school board based the resolution on the legal guidance provided by the California School Boards Association.
The resolution was declarative of existing law and didn’t require new action on the part of staff. The board also wanted to point out that it does not have any records in regards to any student’s immigration status and it never asks for such information and, therefore, immigration status is not part of student records.
“Our community has so many families for whom this resolution is particularly relevant,” said audience member Susan Stewart. “Those are our neighbors and children’s classmates and friends. It’s important for all of us as we desire to create and maintain safe and productive learning environments for our children. What affects one of us, affects all of us.”
The resolution also addressed bullying in the school system. But the crux of it was aimed at immigrants.
Some of the key provisions in the resolution state:
• District personnel shall not allow any immigration enforcement officer or agent to enter a school site without first signing in with the school administration and making a request to enter campus, and shall forward any request by immigration enforcement agents to enter a school site (including for the services of lawful subpoenas, petitions, complaints, warrants, etc.) to the superintendent's office for review.
• Whenever possible under the law, district personnel, when encountering immigration enforcement agents who are on school grounds on account of urgent circumstances, will direct them to the school office and alert an administrator to contact the superintendent’s office.
• District personnel will immediately send all requests by immigration enforcement agents for information or documents to Haley, who will consider all legally permissible actions that may be taken to respond to such requests to protect the privacy rights of students and their families.
• District personnel shall not enter into any agreement with ICE to enforce federal immigration law, and shall not participate in any ICE or Border Patrol enforcement actions.