PPS Protects Undocumented Students in Latest Resolution

By Sophie Weir, Reporter

PPS has long prided itself on being an all-inclusive, safe space for students of every race, gender, orientation, and religion. That’s why, on Nov. 17, its board of education unanimously passed a resolution banning Immigration Control Enforcement (ICE) officers from freely entering school grounds. This momentous vote will guarantee emotional stability and physical safety for all students, and protects the rights of undocumented families all over Portland.

The PPS board plans to appoint counselors to support kids whose family members were deported, and will put care policies in place for children left without a guardian. They also pledge to train staff members on how to respond to ICE officers entering school property. Under this new proposal, staff can’t ask students their immigration status, and must respect students’ privacy on such a sensitive topic.

Portland Public Schools has stated that they are “committed to the success of every student in each of our schools,” and are responsible for giving each student “the opportunity and support to reach his or her greatest potential.” According to the board, the presence of ICE officers in schools would be distracting, scary, and damaging to students’ ability to achieve.

Like almost any political phenomenon in the past few weeks, some link this decision to the president elect Donald Trump’s victory. PPS Board Director Julie Esparza Brown spoke out, commenting on the recent threats to family stability and public safety. “In the wake of the Presidential election and the heated rhetoric surrounding it, there has been a great deal of worry and concern… We are taking this action today to send a message to all PPS families that regardless of their background or status, this District will do everything it can to protect all kids and their families…”

The resolution falls in stride with Portland’s immigrant-safe atmosphere. Mayor elect Ted Wheeler announced Nov. 15 that Portland was a “Sanctuary City,” or a safe space for illegal immigrants where deportation is illegal. By sheltering immigrants, Portland has joined ranks with over 18 other American cities, including NYC, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago. All this is despite the threats Donald Trump has made to withhold federal funds from such cities.

Said Ted Wheeler, “Portland is a city that values inclusion, diversity, and has been welcoming to thousands of people from around the world who now proudly call the Rose City home.” PPS believes the same should be said for local schools, and that every student deserves an equal chance to learn. Why should immigrant students be any different?