New FUSD Safety Resolution reaffirms promise of education for all students

+California+State+Superintendent+of+Public+Instruction+Tom+Torlakson+encouraged+FUSD+school+districts+and+counties+to+release+Safety+Resolutions+assuring+the+safety+of+all+students%2C+regardless+of+immigration+status%2C+ethnicity%2C+etc.+His+letter+can+be+found+on+the+California+Department+of+Education%E2%80%99s+website.

LATimes

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson encouraged FUSD school districts and counties to release Safety Resolutions assuring the safety of all students, regardless of immigration status, ethnicity, etc. His letter can be found on the California Department of Education’s website.

Sabrina Sun , Entertainment Editor

The FUSD Governing Board approved a district-wide Board Resolution titled the “Student Safety Resolution” on Feb. 8. The resolution was not inspired by any specific incidents within FUSD. Instead, its creation was prompted by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s letter titled “Public Schools Remain Safe Havens for California’s Students” published on Dec. 21, 2016. In his letter, Torlakson encouraged California’s various counties and school districts to declare the areas as safe havens for students, especially in light of recent political turmoil and ethnic tensions. The resolution passed unanimously.

The resolution consisted of an array of statements declaring the district’s intention to continue providing education for and protecting its students regardless of their ethnicity or immigration status. The purpose of the document is to reassure parents and children that FUSD will continue to provide education for all of its students, regardless of ethnic background, and that the district refuses to freely comply with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In addition, it lists several policies and programs dedicated towards helping the local multicultural community.

A line from the resolution states “FUSD will allocate resources and offer professional development to staff that supports and promotes diversity, inclusion, and the values of a multicultural society” and that “our community benefits from a rich network of culturally competent organizations and service providers with expertise in addressing the needs of immigrant communities.” Two organizations that receive partnership-funding from FUSD are the City of Fremont Family Resource Center, which provides financial aid and counseling services for Fremont families, and the East Bay Agency for Children, which assists socially and financially disadvantaged children throughout the Bay Area. Both organizations uphold missions that coincide with FUSD’s pledge to support children, greatly value diversity, and concentrate their outreach in local areas such as Fremont and the Bay Area.  

Torlakson observed that the recent political climate and tension surrounding certain issues may have caused some students and their parents to question the state public education system’s stance on immigration policies. He suggested the Safety Resolutions as a way to reassure students and their parents of FUSD’s continued resolve to provide education indiscriminately.  

“Unfortunately, since the presidential election, reports of bullying, harassment, and intimidation of K-12 students based on immigration status, religious, or ethnic identification are on the rise,” Torlakson said. “Together, we can make it clear we will do our best to make sure the prospect of the deportation of undocumented students and their families will not interfere with helping our students succeed. Our schools are not and will not become an arm of the ICE.”

Board President Ann Crosbie, who along with Clerk Michele Berk was heavily involved in drafting the Resolution, stated that the document was merely a reaffirmation of FUSD’s original mission: to provide quality education regardless of immigration status or any other complications.

“The resolution changes nothing that we are already doing to protect and educate children,” said Crosbie. “It is merely a tool to calm the fears of students and families. Immigration enforcement is not the responsibility of FUSD.”