Durham Board of Education Strengthens Policy Protecting Immigrant Students
The changes overlap with the announcement of the Trump administration’s plan to extend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
On Thursday, the Durham, N.C. Public Schools Board of Education approved requests from the Durham Association of Educators (DAE) to revise a school policy which, in part, allots certain rights to students who are in the country illegally.
In February, the teacher-run organization presented the school board with a document titled “Preserving the Sanctity of the Learning Environment”, giving recommendations to help improve Policy 4321 (Investigations and Arrests by Law Enforcement), according to The Herald Sun.
The policy puts forth procedures for law enforcement and federal agencies to follow in order to protect the confidential information of individuals being investigated.
The approved revisions include:
- The superintendent must evaluate and decide whether to accept a request from a law enforcement officer or federal agency (such as Immigration and Customer Enforcement (ICE)) to interview a student or be granted access into the school’s building
- The superintendent must also inform the school board if they are presented with any such requests
- The principal must notify the superintendent’s office of any warrants that are served at the school and the superintendent must, in turn, keep records of any and all warrants
- Law enforcement officials must provide interpretation services in any engagement with students or parents who have limited knowledge of the English language
Changes to the school’s policy coincide with the Trump administration’s announcement to continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, put forth by the Obama administration, reports The New York Times.
DACA allows undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors (dubbed the “Dreamers”) to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action, protecting them from deportation and making them eligible for a work permit.
Although DACA has been extended, the Trump administration also announced the cancellation of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, according to CNN. The program was signed in 2014 but had not yet taken effect since courts blocked it, pending further litigation.
As for the DAE and Durham Public Schools, they are reportedly working together to enforce required training for both school and district personnel who may further encounter these cases within their schools.