BUSD Moves to Protect Undocumented Students

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BUSD mtg on immigration at LongfellowFrom Berkeley Unified School District’s A+ News

BUSD is engaged on several levels in addressing community concerns about the welfare of immigrant students and families in the wake of the Presidential election.

Several schools have provided opportunities for students to voice their concerns within and/or outside of regular classes. Last week, BUSD co-sponsored a forum on immigration rights with the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and the East Bay Community Law Center that was held at Longfellow Middle School (photo at right). The forum included a presentation on the constitutional rights of immigrants in the U.S. and access to a free consultation on possible immigration remedies.

The December 7 Board of Education Meeting will include consideration of a new policy for “Protection of Undocumented Students,” which was discussed by the Board’s Policy Subcommittee on Nov. 18. The policy proposal will be available on the school board meeting web page this Friday evening (December 2).

We will continue to inform concerned students and families about outside resources for further assistance, and work with community partners on potential future events, meetings and activities to ensure fairness and equal protection and support to all students.

Longfellow for justice
In case you missed it, you can see here that Longfellow Middle School students and staff have taken a public stand in the name of social justice. Discarded campaign signs were turned inside out and re-used to show staff and student leaders sharing the powerful words of love, justice, peace, Black Lives Matter, and joy, among others.

“Democracy is Never a Final Achievement . . .”

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Dear Berkeley Community,

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First of all, we want to express our gratitude for the overwhelming support of Measure E1, the special tax that funds the Berkeley Schools Excellence Program, which passed with 88.3% of the vote, a record level of support. We are grateful to the legions of volunteers—parents, teachers, students, staff, alumni, friends and neighbors who helped create the measure and get the word out to the voters about this crucial support for our schools. To quote Ty Alper, our Board Vice President, Berkeley voters understand “that public education is the cornerstone of our democracy and our schools are the lifeblood of our community.” With the renewal of BSEP funding, Berkeley voters are investing in our children, our community, and the future of our nation.

Even as we celebrate this local success, as well as the passage of Proposition 55 which continues a crucial state source of education funding, these results come in the context of a national election with ramifications for how many of our children and families feel about their safety, well-being and future prospects. We’ve already heard from many in our community that they are experiencing sleepless nights, fearful children and parents, and a range of responses, from numbness to despondence or angry outbursts.

As educators, counselors, and community members, we need to support our children and each other through what may be a traumatic time for many, and in particular those who have felt targeted and marginalized by divisive rhetoric and actions during this election cycle—black families, immigrant families, Muslim families, women, ​the LGBTQ community, the disabled—the list goes on.

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