by Kate Snyder, photo courtesy Lorie Shaull
This week NEA educators in Milwaukee, WI and Omaha, NE began to build a line of defense for students –no matter where they live or where they were born.
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“Our students are scared, not just our refugee students, but all students of color are scared. Period. It is our job to make sure our most vulnerable students feel safe, supported and in a place where they can learn. We all watch the news and see the hateful rhetoric and actions and frankly, it’s scary. That is why I worked with our school board on this resolution,” said Ed Ventura, library science teacher.
Ed worked with the Omaha Public Schools (OPS) board and his colleagues to help craft resolution language modeled on the NEA’s draft resolution and on February 7, the resolution passed. It states that OPS will not turn over information on a student or family’s immigration status to federal authorities, unless compelled by a court order or law or with permission from that family. This action reaffirms the commitment to uphold the precedent set by the Supreme Court 35 years ago in Plyler v. Doe, that K-12 public schools are required to enroll all students, regardless of immigration status.
While Ed was working with OPS on an anti-discrimination resolution, Marcelia Nicholson, a Milwaukee public school teacher and member of the Board of Supervisors, was also organizing to pass an anti-discrimination resolution which she co-sponsored for Milwaukee County, WI.
“As a Milwaukee Public School teacher in a school with a 20% English Language Learner population, I see the faces of immigrants every day. I interact with families of all backgrounds and I understand how important it is to protect their rights to equal opportunity and a productive future. As a young woman of color, I also understand what it means to face oppression and be seen as second class,” said Marciela.
Following two hours of debate the Milwaukee County Board passed a resolution opposing President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. Board supervisors voted to approve an anti-discrimination resolution that pledges Milwaukee will remain a place where undocumented immigrants are welcome, regardless of the law.
“It shouldn’t matter if someone’s name is Michael, Muhammad, Miguel, Marina or Marcelia, now is the time to resist President Trump’s policies of hate and division and protect our neighbors who have and continue to make invaluable contributions to our country,” said Marcelia.