In February, the CSEA Board of Directors passed a resolution entitled “CSEA Supports Public Schools as Safe Zones for all of California’s Students.” The Board of Directors encourages CSEA chapters to print and post it at their school/work sites as a symbol of CSEA’s commitment to keeping students safe.
Numerous school districts in California have taken steps to reassure students that they are safe in school regardless of who they are or what their background is, including immigration status.
Since classified employees follow their districts’ guidelines and regulations, and because student safety is the top priority of all districts, any guidelines they establish to protect their students affect CSEA members.
“One of the main concerns of our members is to keep students safe and focused on their learning,” Association President Ben Valdepena said. “It’s important for our members to be knowledgeable about policies and resolutions their school boards approve that affect how we protect students.”
Many students and their families have been wary lately as aggressive immigration policies have been implemented by the federal government. They may be afraid immigration officials might come to schools. Many families also fear their students may be the targets of hate crimes or bullying due to their background because of the current climate.
“If students are afraid of something happening at school, they can’t focus on their learning and they might even stop going to school,” Valdepena said.
By law, it’s the responsibility of public schools to provide all students with an education regardless of their residency status. A 1982 Supreme Court decision prohibits schools from denying undocumented students access to public education. The court stated that undocumented students have the same right to a free public education as U.S. citizens and legal residents, and undocumented students are required to attend school until the age mandated by law just like all other students.
Since public schools are required to provide an education to all students, and all students are required to attend school, many districts have passed resolutions or established regulations so students feel safe and can focus on their education.
Compiled from tips by the Anti-Defamation League
All children are entitled to a free public education by law
In Plyler v. Doe in 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all children are entitled to a free, public education. Public schools and school personnel are prohibited from adopting policies or taking actions that would deny students access to education based on their immigration status. The Supreme Court decision prohibits school districts from: