Ed. groups release resources to support undocumented kids

Ed. groups release resources to support undocumented kids

(Calif.) Educators, administrators, students and their families now have access to an online toolkit that provides resources and links that aim to support undocumented youth, the California Equity Leadership Alliance announced last week.

The toolkit includes strategies and guides for classroom management for teachers, resources for legal issues and for offering and finding social and emotional support for families and children, as well as fact sheets and statistics.

“For too long, the arena of education advocacy has been siloed from the arena of immigrant rights advocacy,” member organizations of the Equity Leadership Alliance–which include the California School Boards Association, Education Trust–West, the Association of California School Administrators and the California State PTA–said in a statement.

“It is imperative that education organizations such as ours bridge this divide and do all we can to support the educators, administrators, and advocates who work with these students and their families every day,” they wrote. “As such, we have launched a new initiative to provide resources, support, and stewardship for educators in order to understand our undocumented student community.”

The release of the toolkit coincides with the 35 year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in which justices ruled that education was a civil right for all students regardless of their immigration status.

Advocacy groups working to ensure undocumented individuals’ ability to seek out physical and mental health care or financial assistance that may help them pay for college have reported that with the recent, widespread crackdown on undocumented immigrants, many of the families they work with are too afraid to seek out any sort of help for fear of coming into contact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

In fact, in the approximately three months since President Trump signed executive orders tightening border security and crack down on sanctuary cities, arrests of undocumented immigrants by ICE have increased 38 percent compared to the same time period in 2016.

The release of the toolkit also follows the passage of two bills last month from the state Assembly to the Senate that would attempt to safeguard undocumented immigrants’ right to an education.

AB 699 bars immigration authorities from entering K-12 public schools in California without a warrant and permission from school officials. The bill also prevents school staff from collecting information about immigration status from students or their families, and bans school officials from cooperating with federal authorities.

A separate bill, AB 21, requires college officials to develop and enforce policies to protect undocumented students, including providing access to free legal representation to those who are faced with deportation orders. The bill also mandates that if a student is deported, they will not lose financial aid or any other benefit if they are able to return to the United States and re-enroll in school.

The toolkit released last week provides many resources in both English and Spanish for students and families, as well as position statements, sample resolutions, fact sheets, reports and policy briefs for school board members and policymakers.

It also provides educators and administrators with resources to help promote classroom engagement among undocumented students, as well as social and emotional supports and college and career readiness efforts.

“Our roles as leaders in education–from administrators and educators to parents and policy advocates–compel us to reaffirm our dedication to these students and offer guidance for a more equitable California,” members of the California Equity Leadership Alliance concluded. “We believe this means not only supporting efforts to keep our students safe, but also ensuring we do all we can to offer them the best chance to graduate prepared for college, a career, leadership, and life.”