On Monday night, Feb. 27, the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education will join the local discussion about Sanctuary Cities by introducing a resolution titled “Affirming Our Commitment to Educate All Children.”
The Board of Education resolution (see below) notes the large numbers of immigrant families and students in the district and states that “the School District of South Orange Maplewood has a well-settled obligation under the Constitution of the United States to provide a free and appropriate public education to all school-age children without regard to their immigration status or their family members’ immigration status.”
While the resolution “acknowledges the mission of law enforcement agencies charged with enforcing our Nation’s immigration laws,” it also states that the role of the school district is to educate children living in the towns, regardless of status, and that it will “protect student confidentiality and will not share private information unless required by law or a court order.”
South Orange-Maplewood Board of Ed President Elizabeth Baker announced the Board’s intention to introduce the resolution on Thursday night at a town hall with U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (see Baker’s statement at the 1:14 mark in the video).
“For the last seven years, our schools have been under attack … as we’ve lost money … from Trenton,” said Baker, “making it very hard to meet the day-to-day needs of our students.” She added, “Now we are under attack on the federal level. Not only our schools going to be defunded and federal programs dismantled but the rights of vulnerable students … staff, families, children are under attack. We have stood up, with and for our students of color, our students with disabilities, our transgender students.”
Baker said that the school district now wanted to send a message to “our immigrant family members [that] everyone is welcome in our schools. We will honor our Constitutional obligation to educate all of our children.”
Baker also asked for Payne’s help working in a bi-partisan manner: “This a community that will stand with you, but we need your tactical help. We need you to stand with us as the bullies in Washington threaten our funding.”
“We need information. We need advocacy. We need mobilization. We appreciate you coming here and standing with us.”