BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Broward County School Board members unanimously approved a resolution to protect children of undocumented immigrants from immigration enforcement while they’re in school or participating in school-related activities.
“This resolution is making a public statement that our schools are safe for all children, regardless of their immigration status or their religion,” said Robin Bartleman, a School Board of Broward County member.
The images of illegal immigrants being picked up and deported under stricter enforcement adopted by President Donald Trump’s administration have made some undocumented immigrants afraid of sending their children to school.
“A lot of them may not have family here that can pick up the children in case of that emergency,” said Paula Munoz, an organizer for SEIU. “So that uncertainty of that ‘if I get separated from my child, what’s going to happen to my child?’ So they’d rather not send them to school to begin with because they’re that afraid.”
Bartleman, who sponsored the resolution, said one student whose parents were deported had no one to turn to except his teachers.
His story is why she felt the resolution was crucial in making students feel safe going to school.
“I want this district to send a message to everyone, to this group that has been marginalized, to say, ‘We’ve got your backs and we’re going to do everything we can to give your children the best and protect them,’” she said.
The resolution is a community-wide effort brought in conjunction with the Florida Immigration Coalition and many other groups who say protecting the children is what’s most important.
“The kids are, they’re innocent in this,” Bartleman said. “And many of them, like I said, were born in this country and we believe as a democracy that public education is our foundation and every child deserves a great, public school education.”
Miami-Dade County Public Schools is also taking up the issue at its school board meeting on Wednesday, March 15th.