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DeKalb School Board Split On 'Welcoming Resolution' To Undocumented Families

Spencer Tritt
DeKalb High School

The DeKalb School Board is considering a “welcoming resolution” to undocumented students and families. Some board members strongly disagreed about whether the statement is necessary at all.

The resolution wouldn’t result in any major policy shifts from the district. It doesn’t change how student information is disclosed.

But several members of the community and school board insisted it’s important to make sure people know the district’s position.

Superintendent Jamie Craven introduced the measure after being approached by Welcoming Western Counties several months ago.

“We just want to make sure," he said, "that we're sending the message while students are in our care that they are protected under the law."

Board member Valerie Pena-Hernandez said she sees how the threat of immigration weighs on some students and impacts learning.

“I am a Hispanic woman sitting here right now, and I can tell you how much," she said. "I work with ESL students and there is a fear every single day that they are going to get picked up, that their families are going to get picked up. So, hell yeah, this is necessary."

Others on the board weren’t sure why anything needed to be said, since the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act or FERPAalready protects student information, including immigration status.

They said there’s no need, and that the resolution could potentially invite legal issues.

The resolution will go up for a vote at the next board meeting in December.