Dear SMMUSD parents and guardians,
We understand that the heated rhetoric used during the recent presidential election has left some of our students and families feeling anxious and afraid. We are aware that in our district, as in others, there is significant fear about how potential changes in immigration law and enforcement may affect some of our students and families. The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District remains steadfastly dedicated to maintaining positive school climates that promote student learning and development. School counselors are available at school for students who are feeling overwhelmed or fearful.
Our district is committed to the education and welfare of students from all backgrounds. We want to ensure that our families are aware of current practices and policies that are in place with respect to maintenance or protection of data related to immigration status and federal enforcement. We will be exploring, along with other school districts and governmental entities and with legal counsel, whether there are other measures we might take to protect our students. We would like to remind our families that our enrollment and registration process only requires verification of local residency and does not require proof of citizenship or immigration status. Federal law prohibits us from asking for immigration status and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that no public school district has a basis to deny children access to education based on their immigration status.
The Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy of 2011 states that it will not conduct immigration enforcement activity at any sensitive location, which includes schools, without special permission by specific federal law enforcement officials, unless exigent circumstances exist.
Be assured that in the days, weeks, months and years ahead we will continue to focus on the education of our students. We want to take this moment to emphasize that the election outcomes do not change our direction, priorities, mission or values. SMMUSD embraces diversity. We value all of our students and are here to help if you need us. We would like to remind all families that if your emergency contact information has changed, please report the changes to your school office.
Please find a list of additional resources below.
Dr. Christopher King
Dr. Sylvia Rousseau
Resources for families:
National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/issues/immigration-enforcement/everyone-has-certain-basic-rights/
The Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America: www.maldef.org
Anti-Defamation League (ADL): Tips and Advice for Teachers and Parents / Family Members: http://www.adl.org/education-outreach/anti-bias-education/c/talking-with-young-people-after-the-election.html