Superintendent message of support
Dear Staff, students and community:
On behalf of the Renton School District I want to offer my thoughts on the federal executive order restricting entry into the U.S. by individuals from seven other nations. I would proudly note that ours is an extraordinarily diverse community that has welcomed immigrant children and families from the very areas of the world now facing restrictions. Additionally, families in our community may be without papers or status and feeling vulnerable. With certainty we see families with close relatives directly affected by the new federal policies. In short, we in the Renton School District are deeply affected by the situation. If we are to attend our mission to educate all children in our community we must ensure that our schools continue to remain safe for our families and children.
I would offer commitment to three pillars of our system:
- we welcome all children and families without regard to their faith, ethnicity, gender, and national origin;
- we aim to serve and educate our children with dignity, respect and true equity; and
- we recognize our obligation to educate children to observe, analyze, and think while becoming contributing citizens in their own right. We must always rely on civil discourse and tolerance, and we will model compassion.
We are watching the situation carefully. To date we have seen nothing that impinges on the operation of our schools. However, some have asked if they should worry about deportation if children participate in a free lunch and breakfast program. Others worry that federal officials or Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents might approach schools for information or custody. Others are simply frightened by a sense of loss and insecurity. Clearly, such worries are not casual and my response is simple – we will provide for children and we will do that without equivocation. Teaching and caring for children is what we do. We are confident that enforcement officials have no need to work through the schools and that they are able to process perceived duties in ways and places that do not endanger the security or safety of children in school. Thus I would ask staff to redirect any contact by federal officials to the Office of Superintendent and avoid such contact in the schools.
We are certainly not experts in these issues but we offer what assistance we can. Children feeling uncomfortable or unsafe are urged to contact the principal or counselor in their schools. Parents, or patrons with questions or concerns are asked to contact us through one of the organizations listed below.
The Renton School District is a great and safe place for students and staff. We offer our pledge to keep it that way.
Resources for families affected by the U.S. presidential executive orders:
City of Seattle - Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs http://www.seattle.gov/iandraffairs/programs/welcoming-city
American Civil Liberties Union: http://www.aclu-wa.org
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project: https://www.nwirp.org
One America: http://weareoneamerica.org/
Free Legal Clinics: http://www.kcba.org/pbs/
Legal Foundation: https://legalfoundation.org/
Neighborhood House: http://www.nhwa.org/
World Relief: http://worldreliefseattle.org/
Somali Community Services of Seattle: http://www.somcss.net/
Somali Youth and Family Club: http://syouthclub.org/
Iraqi Community Center of WA http://www.irccw.org/
Refugee Women’s Alliance: https://www.rewa.org/
Iranian American Community Alliance Seattle: http://www.iaca-seattle.org/
Asian Counseling and Referral Service: https://acrs.org/
Muslim Advocates: https://www.muslimadvocates.org/
Casa Latina: http://casa-latina.org/
What is DACA? Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Department of Homeland Security)
Advisory Regarding DACA Program After Presidential Election (Northwest Immigrant Rights Project)
Know Your Rights: Resources from local organization, One America (formerly Hate Free Zone)