Schools to aid immigrants
Immigrant advocate organizations and staff developed the “We are Broward” support plan after the district declared school grounds and education-related activities safe zones from enforcement officials.
Broward schools have pledged to support immigrant students as fear of deportation ripples through their communities.
The move comes as President Donald Trump has demanded a crackdown on people who are in the country without documentation.
Teachers will introduce new lessons on culture, diversity and immigration while administrators prepare to handle student crises related to immigration status.
Schools will also circulate brochures in several languages to let families know about resources that may help them.
Students will get involved, too. They will lead assemblies or start groups that celebrate diversity in their schools.
About 33,000 foreign students are in Broward schools, about 1,000 more than last year. The students come from more than 200 different countries, and some 180 languages are represented, a district official said.
Community organizations in tandem created the website immigrantfamily.org that lists rights, resources and family preparedness plans in a variety of languages.
Immigrant advocate organizations and district staff developed the “We are Broward” support plan after the district declared all school grounds and education-related activities as safe zones from immigration enforcement.
The board passed a resolution in
South Florida immigrant families have gone into hiding, sending their kids to school with other families so they’re not singled out, or keeping them out of school, local immigrant support groups say.
March asserting that staff would demand judicial warrants from federal agents seeking student information and the school district’s attorney would determine whether to allow the request.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have generally avoided taking undocumented people from sensitive places such as hospitals, churches and schools. But school staff said at the time that families were still afraid to take their kids to school.
Students whose parents brought them to the U.S. before they turned 16 are also eligible for temporary protection from deportation if they meet a list of other criteria.
President Donald Trump is expected to decide soon whether to end the program, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Attorneys general from 10 states vowed to challenge the program in court if Trump doesn’t cancel it by Sept. 5. Florida was not among those listed in the ultimatum.
“Regardless of whatever decision the government makes, we are committed to our students and the continuation of their education and we will work with every student and their family to make sure that happens,” said Dan Gohl, Broward’s chief academic officer.
The need for the Broward support plan followed a student crisis. A high school senior had walked into class and told his teacher that his family had been detained. Broward school districts employees rushed to help him, alerting teachers to look after him and calling nonprofits to get him housing and some cash.
Trump has called for hiring 5,000 more border patrol agents and 10,000 more immigration officers to find and deport a broader pool of those in the country illegally.
Those targeted included anyone who has committed an action that could be considered criminal, misrepresented themselves before a government agency or who, “in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise poses a risk to public safety or national security.”
South Florida immigrant families have gone into hiding, sending their kids to school with other families so they’re not singled out, or keeping them out of school, local immigrant support groups say. Some have signed the legal rights of their children over to others so their kids have somewhere to go if the parents are detained.
Board member Ann Murray said the district aims to communicate to parents that the schools are a safe haven.
“We’re slowly giving people confidence that we embrace each and every person and we’re going to provide them the best opportunity for their children,” she said.