FUSD School Board declares district a Safe Place for undocumented students and their families

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Parents and students welcomed the public proclamation that California's fourth largest district is declaring itself a Safe Place for undocumented students and their families. (KFSN)

Parents and students welcomed the public proclamation that California's fourth largest district is declaring itself a Safe Place for undocumented students and their families.

"Today is a new day and students can focus on their academics and no longer be worried about ICE coming on campus," said Lilia, parent.

Through a translator, Lilia, an undocumented mother of a high school student, says since Donald Trump became President her daughter, who was born here, has lived in fear of losing her parents.

"Her daughter was initially scared with the new election, she was scared she would come home and not find her father or her mother at home," said Lilia's translator.

Roosevelt Highs Student body president, Mariah Duarte is a citizen, but says many of her friends and fellow students are telling her.

"I don't know if tomorrow I'm going to have my Mom and Dad, or I don't know if tomorrow I'm going to be here."

In fact, several undocumented students backed out of taking part in this public proclamation by school board members for fear of being identified and deported.

Board President Brooke Ashjian said the goal is to ease children's fears of going to school.

"They are in a very perplexing situation; they are forced by law to come to school. And then they feel like maybe immigration officials might come into schools and pull them out."

Trustee Elisabeth Rosas wants the district to add counseling services to help students and help direct their families to organizations that can help.

"Facing deportation, and families facing deportation, affects our kids-- and so our kids should have someone to talk to as part of the school."

Declaring each of the more than 100 Fresno Unified schools serving more than 70,000 students a Safe Place is aimed at reassuring a vulnerable population, and keeping children in school.

"A lot of students are fearful because they don't know when or what's going to happen to them or a loved one."

The district doesn't keep track of immigration status, but eight-percent of California's population is estimated to be undocumented. Statistically that would translate into nearly 6,000 Fresno students.
Related Topics:
educationimmigrationPresident Donald Trumpfresno unified school districtfresnoFresno
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