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Make Hacienda La Puente Unified a Sanctuary School District

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An Open Letter to the Board of Education of the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District to Stand in Support of Our Communities

 

January 6, 2017

 

Dear HLPUSD Board Members Chang, Duarte, Fraumeni, Kwok, and Medrano:


We write as alumni, community members, employees, elected officials, parents, and residents to urge you to publically pass a strong resolution that affirms HLPUSD’s duty to defend and protect the students and employees against the stated threats of the president elect. The resolution that you passed at your December 8th meeting falls short.

 

It is time for you to fully support our community by declaring HLPUSD a sanctuary/safe zone district that would protect disabled, immigrant, LGBTQ, Muslim, and female students from the stated threats of the incoming presidential administration.

 

As you are aware, HLPUSD serves a significant population of first and second generation immigrant families. The mass deportation threats by President-elect Trump means that our community members are at risk. There have been numerous incidents of frightened children in classrooms and parents being afraid of sending their children to school for fear that raids by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will separate families. In fact, some families have already taken children out of school for fear that families will be divided. The president-elect’s Muslim ban proposal also threatens community members and could be a first step to other restrictive policies.

 

It is time that the district makes a strong statement to assuage the fears and uncertainty in our community.  Any statement must commit to:

1.     Protecting the information of students and families from inquiries by ICE or any government agency into the legal status or religious affiliations of students and their families;


2.     Pledging not to cooperate with ICE in the detention of students and HLPUSD employees;


3.     Protecting and supporting LGBTQ, women and disabled students and staff and carrying out the laws that support them (including bathroom laws);


4.     Developing trainings for parents as well as for classified and certificated employees;


5.     Developing and implementing an ethnic studies curriculum that addresses race, class, gender, and sexuality throughout the curriculum.

 

Similar comprehensive statements have been made by the school boards of Bassett, El Monte, and Montebello. In addition, several local cities and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have passed safe zone and sanctuary legislation, and similar legislation has been introduced at the state level. The state legislature and the Superintendent of Public Instruction are also developing plans to protect all of our community members. These governing entities have come out unequivocally in favor of the students and community that they serve.

 

We urge you to take a principled stand in favor of the community that you serve. This is not a narrow partisan issue; it is an issue of basic human rights. This is the time for public officials to state that they will not be collaborators in policies that criminalize our communities.

 

Sincerely,

 



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