The Castro Valley Unified School District Board of Education will consider a resolution at its Monday, February 6, 2017 meeting that would declare CVUSD schools a “Safe Haven.”
In an agenda back-up letter to the school board, Superintendent Parvin writes: “Youth and families across the district, county, state, and nation have experienced increased levels of hate speech based on their national origin, ethnicity, religion, political views, or sexual orientation before, during, and after the election.”
Similarly, the draft resolution asserts that the “national presidential election in 2016 resulted in thousands of students and families in the Bay Area and indeed across the state and nation expressing fear and concerns for safety.” It calls out the United States Declaration of Independence which “prominently and clearly recognizes every individual’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and cites the linguistic diversity of the district and voter support for bilingual education.
If passed, the resolution would affirm that CVUSD is “a Safe Haven and its commitment to our diverse student population.” It would also resolve that “school attendance should be encouraged and sensitive locations, such as schools should be safe places.”
The resolution asks that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) maintains a 2011 “Sensitive Locations Policy” that limits “enforcement actions,”defined as “any action taken by ICE or CBP to apprehend, arrest, interview, or search an individual, or to surveil an individual for enforcement purposes.” Schools, along with daycare facilities, hospitals, and places of worship, are considered “Sensitive Locations,” according to the ICE “Sensitive Locations Policy” FAQ, which also states that “enforcement actions may occur at sensitive locations in limited circumstances, but will generally be avoided.”
The resolution also states that is “is affirming that American ideals celebrated herein contain core values that include liberty, equality, democracy, equity, unity, and diversity and that we will continue to promote and safeguard those American values,” and it “reaffirms authority of the Superintendent to protect the data and identities of any student, family member, or school employee who may be adversely affected by policies that results in the collection of any personally identifiable information to the fullest extent provided by the law.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson sent a letter to California’s school districts in December 2016 urging them to declare “our public schools ‘safe havens’ for students and their parents and to remind families about existing laws that protect them and their students’ records from questions about immigration status.” He added, “Parents should know they are welcome on our school campuses regardless of their immigration status.”
CVUSD’s resolution is based on the Sacramento Unified School District “Safe Haven” resolution that Torlakson referenced in his letter. Many school districts across California, including in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland have passed similar resolutions, according to a KQED report. In late January, Alameda Unified School District passed a “Safe Haven” resolution, according to the East Bay Times.
“It’s great that the Castro Valley Unified School District is resisting the Trump administration’s push to vilify refugees and immigrants,” Representative Eric Swalwell said. “Our 15th Congressional District – our America – thrives on diversity and inclusion, with no place for hate speech and bigotry. Children should never have to feel fear in their schools or communities, and I support making them feel safe and welcome.”