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Giving Compass' Take:
• Conor Williams and Rosario Quiroz Villarreal discuss the traumatic summer endured by children of immigrants and how schools are working to ensure their safety.
• How can individuals support school districts who are working to protect the physical and mental well-being of immigrant children?
• Read more about mitigating the effects of trauma among migrant children.
A series of dramatic ICE raids heightened immigrant communities’ fears across the country. And the Aug. 3 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, was a horrific, dramatic escalation of a wave of violence targeting immigrants in recent years.
The consequences of this onslaught are showing up in schools this fall. Around one-quarter of American children have at least one immigrant parent (and/or are immigrants themselves), and many of these children spent their summer facing significant stress and trauma.
As experts and educators explained at a congressional hearing on the topic last week, chronic stress can significantly impede a child’s learning at school. Last year, UCLA’s Civil Rights Project surveyed thousands of teachers and found that recent immigration policy instability was significantly disrupting students’ well-being and, correspondingly, their learning.
How can schools respond? Since 2016, many school districts have passed “Safe Zone” and “Sanctuary” resolutions publicly clarifying what schools are to do in the event that immigration officials show up at their door.
Noting the disruptive and traumatic effect of the Mississippi raids on nearby schools, South Kingstown adopted a resolution in support of a safe school environment for all students regardless of immigration status and is asking for the Rhode Island Department of Education to do the same.
In New York City, ImmSchools partners with UnLocal, a nonprofit focused on providing legal representation and community education to the undocumented community, and the Internationals Network for Public Schools, an organization helping start and support high schools serving newcomer students. Together, they deliver a comprehensive series of trainings that prepare educators to support students in the current climate. These touch on topics including the educational rights of undocumented students, how to create a supportive, trauma-informed and inclusive classroom for children of immigrants, and how schools can respond to raids.
Read the full article about schools mobilizing to help children of immigrants by Conor Williams and Rosario Quiroz Villarreal at The 74.