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APS: Immigrant Families Worried About Sending Kids to School Due to ICE Raids

Arlington Public Schools logoU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids have local undocumented immigrant families on edge, fearful to send their kids to school, according to an email sent to parents by Arlington Public Schools.

In the email, Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy says he’s “concerned” about reports of raids targeting adults and children who have recently fled Central America. Murphy says APS strives to provide a welcoming learning environment for all students.

“In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools may not deny access to any child, whether present in the United States legally or otherwise,” Murphy writes. “More recently in May 2014, the Secretary of Education and Attorney General reaffirmed this ruling and provided guidance to all public school leaders to ensure public school access for all children, regardless of their immigration status.”

“I want to reassure all of our families that children in our care will be safe,” said Murphy. The full email is below.

Dear APS Families and Staff,

I have been concerned by recent news reports about raids to deport adults and children who have fled violence in Central America and recently migrated to the United States. Because of these actions by members of the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, Arlington Public Schools’ (APS) teachers, administrators and Board members have heard reports that some families in our community are fearful to send their children to school. I want to reassure all of our families that children in our care will be safe.

APS is committed to providing an excellent public education to every school-aged student residing in Arlington County. In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public schools may not deny access to any child, whether present in the United States legally or otherwise. More recently in May 2014, the Secretary of Education and Attorney General reaffirmed this ruling and provided guidance to all public school leaders to ensure public school access for all children, regardless of their immigration status.

As educators, the staff of Arlington Public Schools has always acknowledged our legal and, more importantly, our moral obligations to provide an education to all students who live in our community. The School Board’s Vision statement reaffirms our commitment to all children by affirming that we are, “a diverse and inclusive school community, committed to academic excellence and integrity. We provide instruction in a caring, safe and healthy learning environment, responsive to each student, in collaboration with families and the community.” In addition, the School Board has adopted as one of our Core Values to “value all students, staff and families in our diverse, inclusive school community.”

All of us are deeply committed to providing instruction in a caring, safe and healthy learning environment that is responsive to each student.

We believe that the diversity of Arlington County is one of our community’s most significant assets, and we value and will continue to support all of our students and families.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick K. Murphy
Superintendent
Arlington Public Schools

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