BROWARD (CBSMiami) – The case of an 18-year-old Broward County student whose parents were recently deported struck a chord with school board member Robin Bartleman.
She felt that the school board needed to send a signal and put plans in place to show they’re looking out for the best interests of the children of illegal immigrants.
“It was the first case that we’ve ever had like that and I actually saw our staff members crying and when they shared the story with me, I thought, ‘Wow. This is real,'” she said.
That’s why Bartleman wants her school board colleagues to approve a resolution stating that Broward schools are safe places for students regardless of immigration status, religion or country of origin.
She said the resolution will also reminding everyone of the existing policy that children and parents will not encounter ICE agents on campuses.
“We want children in our schools,” she said. “We want them to get an education. We want them to feel safe. We want them to thrive.”
Bartleman said the district is concerned that some undocumented parents may keep their children home from school, rather than risk coming out of the shadows.
“They’re afraid of taking their kids to school and being on campus themselves,” she said.
Paula Munoz is an organizer for SEIU, the international union that represents service workers.
She knows parents who are undocumented and have children who are U.S. citizens and said some of those parents tell her that they don’t take their kids to school for fear of being pulled over and taken in.
Munoz hopes the resolutions passes and cements a plan for parents, teachers and staff to deal with children whose parents are deported.
“Teachers are what children see as someone they can go talk to. So what would happen if a child comes up to you and says, ‘My parents are gone, where do I go?'” she said.
Bartleman says the school district does have a plan in place to identify resources and community agencies to help parents and children in this situation and she hopes the resolution is approved and sends a message.
“I want to let parents know that the school system is a safe place and I think that’s what this resolution does,” she said. “So I’m hoping tomorrow that the board’s going to support it.”
It’s expected the School Board will discuss this resolution at their meeting Tuesday morning.