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Resolution for the Chicago Board of Education: Sanctuary and Safe Schools for All Students

by ctu communications  |  04/18/2017

WHEREAS, The Chicago Board of Education (CBOE) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) enthusiastically embrace its responsibilities to welcome and educate all students regardless of their race, immigration status, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation and celebrates their contribution to our diverse learning community, and will not be impeded or intimidated from exercising its responsibility; and

WHEREAS, numerous students whose education, safety, emotional well-being, and family relationships are at-risk whether it is because of their immigration status, race, sexual orientation, or religion, and will in the future be, enrolled in CPS; and

WHEREAS, the CBOE is committed to ensuring that CPS is a safe and welcoming place for all its students and their families; and

WHEREAS, federal immigration law enforcement activities and stop and frisk practices on or around District property and transportation routes, whether by surveillance, interview, demand for information, arrest, detention, or any other means, have the potential to harmfully disrupt the learning environment to which all students, regardless of immigration status, race, religion, or sexual orientation are entitled; and

WHEREAS, no federal or state law obligates a public school district to devote any resources, financial or otherwise, to the enforcement of federal immigration laws or stop and frisk policies; and

WHEREAS, educational personnel are often the primary source of support, resources, and information to assist and support students and student learning, which includes their emotional health; and

WHEREAS, the CBOE believes that it is in the best interests of the students, staff, families, and community of CPS that it takes action to ensure that disruptions to the educational environment that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions may create will be opposed by any legal means available; and

WHEREAS, the 1982 Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe established that undocumented children have a constitutional right to receive a free public K-12 education in the United States.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Public Schools, do the following:

  1. Designate CPS to be a safe haven for all students and families threatened by immigration enforcement, discrimination, and stop and frisk policies to the fullest extent permitted by law; and communicate safe haven status through correspondence, signage and other messaging to student, parent, and community members;
  2. Not release information or assist ICE and/or local law enforcement with identifying and apprehending undocumented students, parents, or their families;
  3. Require agencies it holds intergovernmental agreements with, such as the Chicago Police Department (CPD), to uphold the determinations outlined in this resolution;
  4. Not use district resources for detecting or assisting in the apprehension of persons who may be targeted in immigration enforcement, unless specifically supported by a valid and properly issued criminal warrant,
  5. Not assist or facilitate the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) access to school databases, facilities, equipment, personnel, and other resources for purposes of implementing registries based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, immigration status, or national or ethnic origin to conduct civil immigration enforcement;
  6. Reject any effort to create religious litmus tests or screenings for individuals or families to navigate the immigration process and most importantly, reject any federal or state effort to create a registry of individuals based on religion or ethnicity;
  7. Eliminate the use of the gang database by school security officers, school police or CPD officers placed at CPS, removing such database will increase protections for all students;
  8. Not assist with existing or future federal mandates to implement stop and frisk policies in and around schools that have and will continue to contribute to the growth of the school to prison pipeline for African American students; and for undocumented students a fast track to deportations;
  9. Not cooperate with ICE, DHS or other agencies charged with implementing the above policies and will not ask students or families about immigration status;
  10. Not grant ICE officers or other immigration law enforcement personnel access to CPS premises for the purpose of enforcing immigration laws, unless:
    (a)  The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is notified of the intention to enter, with adequate notice so that the CEO can take steps to provide for the emotional and physical safety of students and staff, and
    (b)  Those requesting to enter provide the CEO with credentials, the reasons for the requested entry, and written authority, provided by law, for such entry, and
    (c)  The CEO determines, upon consultation, as appropriate, with District legal counsel, that acquiescence to the requested entry is required by law.
  11. Open its doors to be a first point of safety for families under threat of deportation until arrangements are made to a longer-term sanctuary space;
  12. Provide additional and sustainable funding for food, academic, counseling, and mental health support for students and their families experiencing trauma due to violence, deportations and/or or other immigration related trauma;
  13. Require the school district to work with the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Community Organizations to accurately train school personnel about the rights of undocumented students and parents, the regulations around DACA and the implications of removing those provisions, the guidelines of a sanctuary school, the rights of educators to defend their students in the face of deportation, detention or the threats thereof, implementing emergency response plans, provide training for school personnel about applicability of U and T visas for students and their family members;
  14. Mandate district/schools to have a written policy where they agree to not restrain, discourage or punish (in any way, including affecting students’ grades) students or staff from engaging in collective demonstrations through direct actions and protests as is their right protected by the U.S. Constitution;
  15. Develop protocols and emergency plans for responding to ICE raids, deportations and other forms of violence such as shootings. These plans will be created via the PPC or PPLC committees in collaboration with counselors, social workers, the principal and if possible organizations partnering with the school. Planning and training time will be mandated, supported and if necessary paid for by the district and not the individual schools budget;
  16. Not deny services due to documentation status to any student receiving services through schools like special education, ELL, or any other service funded by the city, state or federal government;
  17. Remove the request for social security number off of any forms requesting such information that may be deemed as unnecessary;
  18. Commit to not terminate employment or contracts with any staff with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), in the event that DACA is rescinded.
  19. Not ask its employees to divulge their citizenship status to their employers;
  20. Protect all students from deportation by CPD without exceptions;
  21. Reduce the police footprint in our schools and avoid the normalization of police presence by shifting resources from policing in schools to alternatives such as school counselors, paraprofessionals, restorative justice practitioners and coordinators, behavioral health services and other crucial resources to address trauma;
  22. Not assign the term nor recognize ‘illegal immigrant’ or ‘illegal alien;’
  23. Prohibit abusive or coercive language, including improper or unlawful threats of deportation, or engage in verbal abuse of any person based upon the person’s or the person’s family members’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation;
  24. Establish and implement district-wide system and language access protocols to provide linguistically appropriate and necessary informational materials or referrals to families of CPS students and appropriate community organizations who work with immigrant students and families in need of legal, health, and mental health assistance;
  25. Guarantee volunteers, students, and prospective staff going through a fingerprint and/or background check process will not have their information exposed, voluntary or involuntary, to ICE; Raise the threshold to 25 volunteer hours per week for Level I volunteer requirements

Organizations supporting the resolution:

Action Now

Arab American Action Network

Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Chicago Black Lives Matter Chicago

Black Youth Project

100 Blocks Together

Brighton Park Neighborhood Council

Chicago Religious Leadership Network

Centro de Trabajadores Unidos

Chicago Teachers Union

Communities United

Organized Communities Against Deportations

Enlace Chicago

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Journey for Justice

Kenwood Oakland Community Organization

Logan Square Neighborhood Association

Northside Action 4 Justice

Parents 4 Teachers

Pilsen Alliance

Teachers for Social Justice

Chicago Teachers Union