CSEA resolution supports safe zones for students

Safe Zone Resolution

Earlier this year, 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.

Districts work to protect students from aggressive immigration policies

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.


Strategies for inclusive school environments

Here are some prevention, intervention and education strategies to promote inclusive school environments.

  • Make sure you know your district’s anti-bullying, harassment and non-discrimination policies. If you witness incidents of bias, make sure you let the involved parties know that it is unacceptable and likely violates your school district’s policies.
  • Find ways to let everyone with whom you interact with in the school community know that school is a safe place, all are welcome and that biased words and actions are unacceptable.
  • Report all incidents of bias and bullying. Let students know you are an adult they can trust and they can tell you about any threatening or harassing behavior they experience or observe.
  • Be approachable. Students often suffer in silence and don’t tell anyone about the bias, harassment or bullying they may experience. They often believe it won’t help and may make things worse. One way to increase their openness is to be more approachable. Take issues seriously, invest time and space to listen, and be a role model by not engaging in stereotyping, name-calling and bullying.
  • Whenever possible, help students understand the First Amendment, their rights and freedoms, government, how legislation works and their role in it, the rule of law, current events, advocacy and activism are all components of being engaged citizens.
  • Encourage students to stand up to aggressors by reporting behavior to an adult and not participating in bad behavior.
  • Take part in activism by advocating for school or legislative policies, writing letters, volunteering, raising money, organizing or signing a petition.

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:

  • Barring access to a student on the basis of legal status or alleged legal status.
  • Treating students disparately for residency determination purposes on the basis of their undocumented status.
  • Inquiring about a student's immigration status, including requiring documentation of a student's legal status at initial registration or at any other time.
  • Making inquiries from a student or his/her parents which may expose their legal status.

Immigrant Worker Rights & Defense Training

The California Labor Federation and Central Labor Councils in partnership with attorneys from the Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld law firm will be holding trainings to help union members confront the threat of raids and deportations and build a movement to defend all workers and their families...Learn More