Allentown School Board votes to keep immigrant youth safe
ALLENTOWN, PA — Thursday night, members of Make the Road PA (MRPA) attended the Allentown School District (ASD) meeting as the School Board unanimously voted to pass a Welcoming Schools resolution to keep all students safe, regardless of immigration status. It would also stop schools from communicating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about students in the district.
The resolution, introduced by ASD Director Cheryl Johnson-Watts, was initially brought to the attention of the School Board by a member of the student body and leader of MRPA’s Juventud en Camino committee.
Cheryl Johnson-Watts addressed the school board before the vote:
“We live in a city where we have people coming from across the globe, bringing their children with them. We should look at our own lives and wonder if this is something that does not seem pressing to us because we are not in that same circumstance. And we should be mindful of something that will affect way more of our population than you may realize, not just based on language, but also based on origin.”
In May 2017, ICE agents attempted to enter a school in Queens, NY looking for a 4th grader, and were turned away according to school policy. This incident, and the increasing environment of fear and hostility towards immigrant communities created by the Trump administration, highlight the need for School Boards across PA to ensure that all students in their school districts feel welcome and safe. Communities are now working with the PA Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC) to make sure every school in the state has a similar policy. So far, school districts have passed the resolution in Reading, Upper Darby, Havertown, Centennial-Bucks, Pittsburgh City and now Allentown
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