CCSD vows to keep immigrant students from being thrown under the bus

Clark County School Board member Carolyn Edwards listens to public comment during a board meeting Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in Las Vegas. School trustees in Las Vegas, where almost half the students are of Hispanic heritage, declared the nation’s fifth-largest public school district a safe haven for students, regardless of their citizenship status.
Photo: John Locher / AP

Last week, the Clark County School District Board of Trustees voted in favor of cementing its commitment to all students regardless of their immigrant status. The motion came one day after President Trump signed an executive order mandating the construction of a wall across the country’s southern border, along with a weekly public report on crimes committed by immigrants—the latter of which empowers “state and local law enforcement agencies across the country to perform the functions of an immigration officer … in relation to the investigation, apprehension or detention of aliens in the United States.”

“Given the high level of anxiety that has occurred among our families and in the nation, I think it is really important for us to reaffirm where we are with this,” Trustee Carolyn Edwards said, adding that she hopes the resolution calms anxiety in the district, especially among Latino students.

Michael Shea, a 10th-grade world history teacher, expressed his support for the resolution, stating that a student’s “ability to go to school without any fear or threat is paramount,” and that “it’s easy to see how school officials could be pressured to divulge more information” given the recent ramping up of anti-immigrant dialog. “[If] my students feel like we might release their info, they won’t come to school.”

Statements were read on behalf of the ACLU of Nevada and Dina Titus, and public figures—including immigrant activist Astrid Silva and former Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid—also made comments.

The “sanctuary” resolution doesn’t actually change current CCSD policy, Edwards stated, but simply reaffirms the district’s stance. “We are attempting to reassure that our students will be protected in the privacy of their situation. We won’t divulge information about our students,” Edwards said. The resolution passed 6-1, the dissenting vote cast by trustee Chris Garvey.

CCSD graduates also shared stories. Francisco Morales came to the United States at age 8 and recently graduated in the top 1 percent of his class at UNLV. “Right now the morale among our students is very low … the media and our new president is amplifying that fear, and I think that you all have a responsibility today to send them a message that while [students are] in school, they’re safe,” he said. “That’s the moral thing to do.”

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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