AUSD commits to “Safe Haven” resolution

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As Donald Trump’s inauguration day approaches on Jan. 20, concerns regarding Trump’s proposed policies have escalated, resulting in protest. Igniting disapproval is his proposal of the deportation of unauthorized immigrants who have been convicted of crimes. In response, the Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD) passed a new resolution.

At a recent board meeting on Jan. 10, the AUSD officially signed Resolution No. 16-17-16, committing that schools of the AUSD will “create safe and caring environments” and “foster a culture of trust and respect among all stakeholders.”

Since the walkout of San Gabriel High School students last November, board members have acknowledged the distress and unease of students who belong to immigrant families. Resolution 16-17-16’s purpose is to ensure a safe school environment where students can receive a proper education, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or immigration status.

“I think it’s a great thing that the school board took that big step for the sake of all undocumented students,” junior Abigail Garcia, one of the organizers of the student walkout, said. “The presidential election affected a lot of teenagers, including myself. Although I’m not undocumented, [Trump’s proposed policies make me feel] hurt and heartbroken because I know some undocumented people came here for better opportunities for themselves and their children.”

This reassurance to make school campuses “safe havens” will work to take the worry off of students’ backs and allow them to learn freely.

“I feel safer within the walls of my high school, knowing that they took our voices seriously and that our walkout wasn’t a wasted protest,” senior Angela Rodriguez, another one of the leaders in the student walkout, said. “It benefits my senior class because we no longer have to worry about the last few months of our schooling being jeopardized. And for future generations, they don’t have to worry about being able to finish their high school career. With one less thing to worry about, we can focus on our future beyond high school.”

In the resolution, the AUSD commits that they will “take any and all actions authorized by law and our policies to provide equal opportunities and safe learning spaces for all of our students.” In addition to implementing a safe environment, they will protect students by “not [collaborating] with immigration enforcement agencies or share information that could put a student’s security at risk.”

“As the fear of these vulnerable communities does not disappear by merely ignoring its causes, I will continue to look for ways to incorporate into class content a perspective on and context for some of the upheaval our democracy and society are facing,” English teacher Melissa Bishop-Magallanes said. “What will not change in my classroom is the space of safety and community and my indefatigable commitment to defend human dignity and rights.”

As for changes to the school, none have been proposed yet, but as Principal Debbie Stone said, ”[San Gabriel] will follow whatever guidelines given by the District” to comply with the resolution.

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