Sacramento City Unified School District Set to Become a ‘Safe Haven’ for Undocumented Students

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SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento City Unified School District was poised on Thursday to pass a resolution requiring immigration officials to notify the district superintendent before they come on campuses.

It also takes on a non-cooperation stance when it comes to using school files to find undocumented students and families.

School board member Jessie Ryan is spearheading the resolution, in part after hearing from her first-grade daughter.

“She’s come home and said 'why are people saying to my friends that because you’re Mexican you might be sent back to Mexico?'" said Ryan.

She said you can't expect students to learn if they don't feel safe.

Resolution supporter and fellow board member Darrell Woo said he has heard of students who got a rude awakening just the day after the election.

“They were crying, the were told with inside the school or outside the school, better start packing your bags, we know who you are, we can get you," said Woo.

Spanish language translator Claudia Rodriguez, who interacts with parents during parent teacher conferences, says there is a real fear among immigrant parents.

“There’s some who live in fear…That’s always a topic that worries them, to be exposed," said Rodriguez.

Ryan says the incidents of hate rhetoric skyrocketed during the election process in which Donald Trump openly campaigned to deport undocumented immigrants.

The resolution also seeks to foster an appreciation of different cultures and sets aside days where events are to be held to celebrate diversity.

The reality is that current immigration policy takes a hands off approach to schools. But Ryan says that doesn't prevent parents and students from being afraid and poisoning the learning environment for students who don't feel safe.

District Superintendent Jose Banda says the district earlier in the presidential campaign alerted principals and teachers to be sensitive to the concerns of students and to address them openly in class or assemblies to calm them.

“What’s really different about the resolution, and different about what we’re doing, is sending reassurances to our community and our parents, I think they need that," said Banda.

The resolution was expected to pass with little opposition.