The Board of Education Will Vote on the Welcoming Sanctuary Schools Resolution

Posted on June 24, 2021
Categories: News, Press Releases

To ensure that all Philadelphia public schools are safe havens for immigrant students and families, the Board of Education will consider adopting “The Welcoming Sanctuary Schools” Resolution at its June 24th action meeting.

Proposed during Immigrant Heritage Month and developed in partnership with the community organization Juntos, this resolution is designed to ensure safe learning environments and to protect students’ confidential information, which aligns with Philadelphia City Council’s sanctuary schools resolution.

“Schools must be a place where all students feel welcomed, safe and affirmed,” said Board Member Mallory Fix-Lopez. “This resolution is recommitting and further committing to just that. By assuring immigrant students and their families feel unconditionally safe in our schools, we are ensuring that they are given the opportunity to thrive and reach their fullest potential.”

This resolution reflects the Board’s public commitment to providing safe and welcoming spaces where all students may learn and achieve, knowing the School District will support their safety and emotional well-being, regardless of their immigration status, national origin, race, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, familial status, religion or ability.

“It is important that the Board and School District ensure that all communities are welcomed and feel safe in our schools,” said Board Vice President Leticia Egea-Hinton. “This resolution is a critical step as the Board moves forward with its Goals & Guardrails, and we appreciate the hard work of advocates, City Council, the Mayor’s office, Board Members and School District staff who helped develop it.”

To ensure students’ learning environments are not disrupted by immigration enforcement actions, the resolution states:

  • Requests from immigration officials to enter District buildings, to communicate with students while they are under District supervision or for student information shall be forwarded to the District’s Office of General Counsel (OIG.) Unless required by law, the OIG will not authorize sharing information or granting access to students and will prioritize the constitutional and legal rights of SDP students and families.
  • School District employees, contractors, volunteers and representatives shall not inquire about a student’s or parent’s immigration status unless required by law.
  • The School District has created an “Immigrant Refugee Toolkit” to guide District staff, faculty, employees and school safety officers when an immigration concern arises.
  • The District shall create and/or maintain an emergency response plan to help ensure the safety and emotional well being of students who may be impacted by federal immigration enforcement actions.
  • Within 100 days, the Superintendent will develop a district-wide plan to inform and train teachers, administrators, staff, contractors and volunteers on how to respond to ICE personnel or others who request information about students and families or who are attempting to enter a school property.
  • The District will invite parents, teachers and community organizations to offer input into the plan in accordance with Board Policy 901, “School-Community Relations Objectives.”

“The Juntos community celebrates the introduction of the Welcoming Sanctuary Schools Resolution as the first step towards meaningfully safeguarding all families from immigration enforcement,” said Erika Guadalupe Nunez, Juntos Executive Director.  “We thank the School District of Philadelphia for acknowledging our community’s vision for Sanctuary Schools and for recognizing our critical work to ensure immigrant families feel supported and secure within the district.”