Sanctuary

 

253“Let it be known that, as of January 20, 2017, the undersigned staff of Mueller Charter School and Bayfront Charter High School declares our K-12 school community to be a safe haven and a sanctuary for all students and their families; it is our collective resolve to protect and insulate every individual from persecution, harassment, hate speech or intimidation.”

Simple as that.  Our Safe Haven Initiative.  We declare that at least our two schools–Bayfront and Mueller, will be sanctuaries against anything that the trump,inc. government can bring.

Well, almost anything.

At the very least, this resolution is a strategic response to the climate of heightened fear and anxiety that now exists for many school-aged students and their families;  to the intolerant rhetoric made over the course of the 2016 presidential race; and to the steady increase in hate speech at public and private K-12 schools across the United States of America. Among other things, trump,inc. promised to end an executive order that granted temporary status to immigrant students living in the country illegally. During his campaign, he also promised to launch a “deportation force” and withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities.

He has already built his wall.

The president elect, and the cadre of bigots, blowhards and billionaires that he has selected to serve in his administration, have collectively made statements that are denigrating to women, immigrants, Latinos, African Americans, LGBT, Moslems, people with special needs, and even veterans. Our school community is a rainbow comprised of all of these groups and we happen to be unapologetically committed to diversity, inclusion, and justice for all students.

In recent weeks, the College for All Coalition, with the support of more than 120 other organizations, has been urging California educators at both the K-12 and university level to stand with them in defiance of any effort from federal authorities to harass our students or families.  So we are standing:

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We are designating both of our charters as “Sanctuary Schools”  

–Specifically, we will refuse to comply with immigration authorities regarding deportations and raids, and will refuse to allow any immigration agents onto our school campuses without a judicial warrant.

–We will guarantee privacy of all our stakeholders and will refuse to release information regarding the immigration status of students, staff, or community members.

–We will continue to assist our families, as we have always done,  with resources and services such as immigration legal assistance, mental health counseling, and undocumented student support programs.

We will strategically allocate resources to promote diversity, inclusion, and intergroup harmony.

We will provide the tools, training and resources to nurture a learning environment free from bullying and discrimination. In the face of intolerance, we will make sure that every adult that works in our schools has the information and training they need to be effective advocates for all students.

We Vow to Protect All Students from Bullying, Intimidation, Harassment, or Discrimination

We will insure that every staff member understands and enforces state and federal laws regarding bullying, intimidation, harassment, or discrimination on the basis of protected categories, including actual or perceived immigration status, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

–If and when such incidents of harassment do occur, our schools will take prompt action to ensure accountability and justice through restorative justice and other approaches that focus on repairing the harm caused to the victim and the wider community.

–Counseling and other supportive services will be provided to victims, but also made more broadly available to all of our students.

–We will compile data on every incident of bullying, intimidation, harassment, or discrimination on the basis of the protected categories listed above.

We will Promote Civic Literacy as a School-Wide Theme: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
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Our students will need to find their own voice.  They must know their history, their civil rights, and the promise of both the State and Federal Constitution.  They must learn how to monitor their government and their world. They must learn how to research and read critically and distinguish between propaganda and the truth.  They must learn to speak up, advocate, defend, protest, and organize when they observe social injustices around them.

We will Challenge Every Student to Rise to Their Academic Potential and Compete on Merit

 We can’t rely on any special accommodations or assistance to be structured into external school or social systems. Our students must demonstrate—by every measure– a profound capacity for academic excellence. They have to learn to compete on an uneven playing field… and they have to excel.

America will change on January 20.  We are taking no chances. While we’ve never had to organize to protect our students from their own president, we have also never experienced such a hostile takeover.

We’ve never had to fortify the walls of holy ground, or declare our house of learning: a  sanctuary.

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