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Immigrant Students Get Protections Under Detroit School Resolution

Lori Higgins, Detroit Free Press, March 14, 2017

The Detroit Public Schools Community District board of education approved a resolution tonight designed to ensure that immigrant students are safe within the district's schools.

The SafeZone resolution, as it was called, is designed to ensure that the district provides protection, support and assistance to "people of different citizenship statuses," said Misha Stallworth, a board member who offered the resolution.

The resolution stems from a request by Steve Conn, a math teacher at Western International High School, said LaMar Lemmons, another board member. And it comes as the U.S. government gets tough on enforcing immigration policies.

The resolution, Stallworth said, directs school staff, volunteers and contractors not to not inquire about or disclose the immigration status of students.

It also says any requests by federal immigration officials for information or access to school buildings to immediately be forwarded to the superintendent's office and the district's general counsel, rather than "just entering our schools or coming onto our properties, and creating a lot of fear for our families and students," Stallworth said.

She said she researched how other school districts have addressed these issues and consulted with the district's lawyers.

The resolution is needed, she said, "given the current national climate," as well as feedback from the community.

Ivy Bailey, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, last month urged the board to adopt a resolution that would designate all schools in the district as sanctuary schools, arguing that concerns about threats of legal action create fear and make it difficult for students to learn.

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http://www.freep.com/story/news/education/2017/03/14/detroit-immigrant-students-protection/99193626/