DALLAS - Dallas ISD passed a resolution to reassure undocumented immigrant students and families that it will protect them as best it can.
There were protests two days last week by students from several DISD campuses to condemn President Donald Trump's immigration policies. And there was a lot of public comment Thursday night on the board's plan.
Multiple students and teachers spoke largely in support of the resolution. Some students got very emotional about their fears of deportation.
The resolution DISD board members unanimously passed doesn’t specifically call the district’s schools safe havens or sanctuaries. Instead, it declares the schools will be "protective and welcoming" to all students regardless of their immigration status as allowed under the law.
A representative for the DISD Teachers Union said the resolution was brought on by the increased fear in the current political climate. Some teachers said students were coming to them scared they or their families might be deported while they were at school.
“He said to me at the beginning of class after the bell rang, ‘Miss, if you don't see me here at school one day, it's because I was sent back to Mexico,’” recalled Samuel High School teacher Erika Machuca. “It broke my heart to hear this and, frankly, surprised me.”
Almost 60 percent of DISD students are Hispanic, and more than 23,000 students were absent during the Day Without Immigrants protest last Thursday, where immigrant students were encouraged to stay home from school.
Students in schools across North Texas also walked out of their classrooms last Friday in protest of President Trump's immigration policies.
DISD Board Trustee Jaime Resendez said he saw those walkouts and understands why students did it. He said those fears are part of why he brought the resolution to the table.
Students expressed those same fears to the board.
“I came to the United States when I was 1. I have never felt fear until now. I have lived here for 18 years, and now I don't feel like I belong,” said student Katelyn Perez. “I want the American dream. I want freedom and peace for every immigrant. I don't want to live in fear. I want to belong.”
Supporters of the resolution say it will provide a safe environment for all students to learn no matter what their immigration status is.
While people who are against the measure did not speak at the meeting, some spoke out on social media saying passing the resolution is basically promoting breaking the law and even called for DISD to lose their federal funding.