Protecting DC’s Immigrant Students

This blog post is by Valerie Jablow, a DCPS parent who originally posted it on her website, a blog “by, for, and about everyone interested in public education in DC.” The photos are from the day-to-day work of Teaching for Change in schools in the D.C. metro area.

So, this is happening now, at DC’s public schools:

  • Parents threatened with deportation.
  • Parents late to pick up kids because of immigration officials at their door.
  • Immigration officials visiting metro stations during school drop off and pick up.
  • Student attendance dropping as a result of fear.

As you may recall, in February Teaching for Change and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs asked the mayor, along with other DC education leaders, to declare our public schools sanctuaries for all; assign personnel to handle concerns with immigration by law enforcement at schools; restrict access to our public schools by immigration officials; limit information collection on students; have a rapid response team to ensure children are safe in the event of an immigration enforcement event at their school; ensure no bullying because of immigration status; allow teachers to discuss such a sanctuary policy with their students; and publicize all such efforts.

The response was a backdated letter from deputy mayor for education Jennifer Niles that addressed none of that.

Now, in that vacuum of city leadership, Teaching for Change has gathered various groups around the city to encourage school leaders to develop policies that address those real needs.

The group’s website here serves as a portal for information about how our DC schools are responding to threats to student safety and what can be done.

If you have ideas or information that would be useful to share, please send it to Teaching for Change at [email protected] (neither school names nor identifying details will be mentioned), for inclusion.