- While official practice among federal immigration agents is to stay away from schools as “safe zones,” families are bringing their worries over deportation to district officials and administrators have had to respond.
- The New York Times reports state leaders have distributed guidance to superintendents about how to ask for warrants and subpoenas before allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents into school buildings, and administrators are reminding staff never to collect information about immigration status on students or families.
- Many districts have also encouraged parents worried about deportation to update their child’s emergency contact lists so that in the event of a raid, there is a plan in place for where the child should go, and the New York City Education Department told schools to have students skip the Student Data Questionnaire on the upcoming SAT because it asks whether students are citizens.
Immigrant families have been under considerable stress since President Donald Trump was elected, even those with proper residency paperwork, after the administration’s first attempt at banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East. Besides being worried about deportation for undocumented residents, some families have been worried about planned travel for those who have a legal right to be here.
As with everything that happens at home and in communities, schools feel the effects of this. Some districts have stepped up social work supports and offered more training in trauma-informed responses. Behavioral problems among some students are being read through a more sympathetic lens. And schools will have to continue to be responsive to this heightened threat.