IMMIGRATIONS RIGHT WORKSHOP
- Wednesday, Feb. 8, Showalter Middle School
- 5 p.m.: Resource fair
- 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Program
- 7:30-8:30 p.m.: Individual counseling sessions available with immigration-rights attorneys (first to sign up, first served)
- Free childcare and refreshments
- Interpreters and prayer space available
MESSAGE FROM SUPERINTENDENT NANCY COOGAN
Feb. 3, 2017
I started this week with a message of support for our foreign-born families as I, like you, wrestled with anti-immigration executive orders that seem contrary to our deepest values in Tukwila. Now it’s time for information and action.
Several months ago, our TSD community liaisons scheduled a listening session next Wednesday for diverse families to talk with me about education. In light of the fear and anxiety many students and families have expressed recently, we are switching the focus. The evening will now be an immigration-rights workshop. We have district and city leaders lined up to express their welcome and support. Local police will explain to participants that they do not enforce federal actions (i.e., it’s safe to call 9-1-1 and use any city service). CAIR Washington will present immigration-rights FAQs and offer individual sessions with attorneys. We will also have tables with resources from organizations like OneAmerica. Childcare and interpreters will be available. This event is for immigrants, refugees, and anyone who supports these groups, stands in solidarity, and wants to learn more. (Flyer attached)
- Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Showalter Middle School
- 5 p.m.: Resource fair
- 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Program
- 7:30-830 p.m.: Individual sessions with attorneys
In the coming weeks, we also plan to hold a regional immigration-rights event with surrounding school districts and a celebration to bring our community together in solidarity. Look for more details soon.
Many of you have asked for more information about how the Presidential executive orders affect us locally and how immigration actions happen in schools and cities.
Here is the most important law: All children have a right to a free public education, regardless of their actual or perceived immigration or citizenship status. In general, federal officials cannot enforce immigration actions at schools or sensitive locations like school bus stops, medical facilities, or places of worship unless there is an immediate threat of danger.
What does this mean?
- At the district level, we do not expect federal officials to come on TSD property for enforcement and we do not expect requests for families’ records on immigration status or religious affiliations because we do not collect or keep such data (in fact, districts may NOT take steps to determine the undocumented status of children or their parents). If a federal official confronts any staff member with a request to access a student or a student’s records, I have asked them to immediately refer them to the superintendent’s office. I will work with general counsel to protect families by restricting access as much as I am legally able.
- If you ever experience intolerance or harassment against yourself, a student, or a staff member, please immediately report it to your principal or HR Executive Director Rick Maloney, 206-901-8005. We will not allow prejudice or watch it in silence in Tukwila schools.
- At the city level, Tukwila officials have passed a resolution reaffirming their commitment to being an inclusive community (our school board has done the same). The Mayor has confirmed that city employees will not ask for proof of residency to access city services, including assistance from the Human Services Division or first responders. Tukwila Police do not inquire about citizens’ immigration status, and they do not enforce federal immigration actions. Overall, this is a safe and welcoming community for all of our families to call 9-1-1 or seek assistance.
- At the student and family level, there is certainly anxiety about the known and unknown effects of the new administration’s immigration policies. All TSD staff are doing their best to make sure schools are safe places. Outside of that, there are many good online resources for families with action steps if they are stopped by immigration officers.
- At the staff level, you our educators are protected by the First Amendment, and they will continue to advocate for their students personally and professionally. I have reminded them that they are NOT to use staff time to advocate or disparage against any political issue, person, or religious beliefs; they must remain neutral and balanced when teaching a controversial or political subject; and they are held to the Professional Code of Conduct whenever they are with TSD students or representing themselves as a TSD employee.
Please use this information as you continue to serve students and families, and attend next Wednesday if you’d like to know more.
Dr. Nancy Coogan