Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tucson Unified School District Makes a Statement

Posted By on Wed, Dec 14, 2016 at 1:57 PM

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Tuesday the TUSD board passed a resolution stating "the Governing Board and the District, and its administration, teachers, counselors and staff will support all students equally, whether their immigration status is documented or undocumented." The vote was 4-1 with Michael Hicks voting No. The TUSD resolution isn't as lyrical as the one put out by the Phoenix Unified High School District—it uses the more formal Whereas/Therefore format—but the intent is the same.

An important phrase in the PUHSD statement isn't in TUSD's resolution, which states that PUHSD will stand behind its students "regardless of changes in law or policy." But really, until a district is put to the test—something we hope won't happen, even with Trump's anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim campaign promises and similar rhetoric which has been coming from the Arizona legislature for years—we won't know how aggressively it will protect its students and their families. However, one portion of the TUSD statement is exceptionally relevant from an educational standpoint:
Discrimination against children, beyond being illegal, harms them emotionally, socially, and economically in ways and degrees that cannot be fully known or measured because their effects last throughout entire lifetimes.
I hear Pima Community College is preparing a similar statement. The more educational institutions that formalize a statement of support for all its students post-election, the better. If anyone knows of similar statements from other schools or school districts around the state, you can let me know at tucsonweekly@tucsonlocalmedia.com. Put my name in the message and it'll get to me.

The entire TUSD resolution is below:

A RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNING BOARD OF TUCSON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 OF PIMA COUNTY, ARIZONA EXPRESSING COMMITMENT TO STUDENTS REGARDLESS OF IMMIGRATION STATUS

WHEREAS, the Tucson Unified School District (“the District”) exists for the purpose of providing a free public education to children residing in Arizona;

WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court, in the case of Plyer v. Doe, held that the denial of equal educational opportunities to students on the basis of their immigration status (whether documented or not) was a discriminatory violation of the United States Constitution;

WHEREAS, the District serves numerous immigrant families and their children;

WHEREAS, discrimination against children, beyond being illegal, harms them emotionally, socially, and economically in ways and degrees that cannot be fully known or measured because their effects last throughout entire lifetimes;

WHEREAS, school districts and organizations collectively recognized their obligations to educate students regardless of immigration status earlier this calendar year by observing National Coming Out on April 7, 2016;

WHEREAS, the invitation and promise to the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” which is found at the feet of the Statue of Liberty must surely, if at all, be given effect in the lives of children;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED
that the Governing Board and the District, and its administration, teachers, counselors and staff will support all students equally, whether their immigration status is documented or undocumented.

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