School Board Votes For Sanctuary Schools Resolution

by Staff Reporter / Feb 02, 2018 / comments
Daniel Santana, with Elsa Lopez as interpreter, spoke in favor of the resolution. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

School Board Votes For Sanctuary Schools Resolution

By George Morse

At the Jan. 24 meeting of the Española School Board, the Board voted their unanimous support of a resolution that reconfirmed the Española Public Schools as Sanctuary Schools.

Roger Montoya of Moving Arts Espanola spoke I favor of the resolution. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

The Board was addressed by Elsa Lopez of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, a community-based and immigrant-led organization that promotes worker and racial justice. She spoke in favor of the resolution.

Elsa Lopez of Somos Un Pueblo Unido addressed the Espanola School Board in support of a resolution reconfirming Espanola Public Schools as Sanctuary Schools. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Lopez also acted as interpreter for Daniel Santana, who spoke in Spanish about his being arrested.

“It’s really important to gain your support so we don’t have the uncertainty we all have to live with,” Santana said.

Others who expressed their support of the resolution included Roger Montoya of Moving Arts Española.

A large crowd showed up in support of the resolution.

Many people stood before the Espanola School Board in support of the resolution. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Board members asked if supporting this resolution would jeopardize the district receiving federal funds.

Attorney Gino Zamora told the Board that a ruling by the United States Supreme Court (Plyler vs. Doe, 1982) guaranteed undocumented children the same rights to primary and secondary education as citizens and permanent residents. The parent’s and student’s rights to privacy are covered in the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Section two of the resolution says Española Public Schools will protect student privacy and insure confidentiality by prohibiting the release of information about student’s immigration status to law enforcement agencies and federal agencies.

The resolution also includes a section (3) about instructing Española Public Schools staff to refrain from collaborating with or volunteering information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for the purpose of immigration enforcement. Another section (4) refuses access to schools and other Española Public Schools property to federal immigration officials for the purposes of immigration enforcement, except upon issuance of a signed judicial warrant.