Walnut Creek Declares Itself 'Safe School' for Undocumented Immigrants - NBC Bay Area
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Walnut Creek Declares Itself 'Safe School' for Undocumented Immigrants



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    File image of protesters in Spain holding sign saying "No Human is Illegal."

    Concerned families can now add Walnut Creek public schools to the growing list of campuses that have declared themselves “safe havens” for undocumented students and employees.

    School district officials passed a Safe School Resolution at Sunday night’s Board of Governors meeting, Superintendent Marie Morgan announced in a morning memo to parents. 

    The district now joins Mount Diablo, Oakland and Alameda unified school districts and dozens of others statewide, all of which have passed post-election resolutions amid rising fears over immigration raids conducted under the Trump administration.

    In addition to expressing support for students of all backgrounds, Walnut Creek’s resolution states that the district “will not provide student or employee data to law or immigration enforcement agents.” More important, perhaps, it bars immigration officials from conducting “action” — or sweeps — on school grounds without first gaining prior permission from the superintendent.

    The resolution also notes that school principals and teachers will “work with and support” families that have expressed concerns over sending students to school. 

    “I am proud to be part of a community that values every individual and grateful to our governing board for taking this important step to maintain welcoming and safe schools for our students, employees and families,” Morgan said in a statement.

    Board members Katie Pena, Sherri McGoff, and Elizabeth Bettis voted to approve the resolution. Members Barbara Pennington and Aimee Moss were absent. 

    Earlier this month, a father who had just finished dropping off his daughter at a Los Angeles school was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, roiling communities and creating a renewed sense of urgency for school officials to draft protective measures. The daughter’s cellphone footage of the arrest circulated widely on social media. 

    ICE officials maintain that immigration sweeps are not conducted on sites it has deemed “sensitive locations,” such as school grounds and churches. However, nonexistent trust between immigrant communities and ICE, combined with President Donald Trump’s statements on immigration, has caused some parents to preemptively keep students home. It also has caused some students to worry during the school day.

    “There are many Muslim and Latino students who are feeling very afraid, and we also have immigrant students who are scared of being separated during school,” parent Marilyn Lucey said at a Contra Costa County school board meeting. “They are worried about what might happen to their parents when they’re not together.”

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