In a unanimous vote earlier this week, the Los Angeles Unified School District adopted a resolution preventing ICE officials from stepping foot onto school property without prior permission.
Board members noted that while immigration agents haven’t attempted to detain any students, school officials wanted to reassure fearful Latino and immigrant students about their safety following news of ICE raids targeting Central American refugees.
“We stand for the safety of our children,” said board member and co-sponsor of the resolution, Ref Rodriguez. “These are safe spaces.”
LAUSD is the country’s largest school district by enrollment, and has frequently advocated on behalf of its immigrant students, including calling on the federal government to pass immigration reform legislation.
Steve Zimmer, president of the LAUSD Board of Education, said that he and the other board members wanted to reassure worried families in passing the resolution.
“The vitriol and hate that presently permeates the immigration debate, combined with a regrettable change in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement practices, made it necessary for the Board of Education to take a strong stand in solidarity with our families and our communities,” Zimmer said in a statement released after the vote.
“Our message is simple and direct: our schools are safe, welcoming and embracing for all families.”
News and rumors of raids have caused widespread fear in Latino and immigrant communities. A recent NPR piece noted that at one majority-Latino school in Maryland, attendance rates had drastically dropped out of fear of raids and deportation.