Safe Schools for All Campaign
P4T's Safe Schools for ALL campaign is designed to build unity and defend and support students and families who feel threatened by the Trump administration.
Our students, Our families, Our schools
A tool kit for fostering Safe Schools for All
About this Tool Kit
- Parents 4 Teachers created this tool kit to help you build unity in your school and work together to make sure all students and families feel safe and protected in the coming year.
- This is meant to be used as a guide. Each school is unique and there’s no one size fits all approach to bring your community together.
- Consider the unique culture and characteristics of your school and its families when deciding how to implement this campaign.
- Unity Pledge
- Why is this toolkit needed?
- Suggestions for fostering safe schools for all
- Resources for families
- Draft LSC resolution
At (school name) every individual and family is valuable. We are people of diverse races, religions, abilities, ages, gender identities, sexual orientations and political affiliations. We speak many languages. We come from various social and economic backgrounds. We are immigrants and children of immigrants. We will not let ourselves be divided by our differences. Let it be known that we intend to take every step we can to make this a safe school for all. We stand together and pledge to support and protect each other as we all work to achieve our dreams.
Why is this tool kit needed?
The 2016 election left us with a president who used fear and hate against undocumented immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and African Americans. He mocked individuals with disabilities and degraded women. His campaign promises included building a wall and deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, creating a registry for Muslims living in the U.S. and implementing stop and frisk policies that have targeted the African American community.
Already, our schools are seeing the effects of such hateful rhetoric. CPS teachers have reported increased worries and anxiety by their students and a recent national survey of educators found that eight out of 10 saw a negative impact on students’ mood and behaviors following the election. [Southern Policy Law Center, The Trump Effect: The Impact of The 2016 Presidential Election on Our Nation's Schools, Nov. 28, 2016]
Fostering Safe Schools for All
Step 1—Begin the conversation
- Meet with your principal. Explain why you think it’s important for your school to take action to protect at risk students and their families.
- Include teachers and other parent leaders. This could be your teacher union delegate, school counselor, LSC members, student representatives, or PAC/BAC representatives.
- Ask for support of the Unity Pledge and/or LSC Safe Schools Resolution.
Step 2—Publicize your campaign
- Circulate the Unity Pledge and/or LSC resolution via school website, folder handouts and emails.
- Use ALL communication venues in your school and as many languages as possible spoken in students’ homes.
- Put the poster and statement in a prominent place in your school and invite all families, students and staff to sign on.
- Consider promoting it as an online statement or petition for your school community to endorse.
Step 3—Create a School Action Plan
- Organize a meeting or coffee with other like-minded parents. Discuss how to bring the school together and support families and children who feel threatened or bullied.
- Determine concrete ways that parents can provide aid and support to families facing deportation or other ordeals and traumas. Can you:
- Organize a parent rally/show of support at school.
- Identify a parent in the school to be the point person for your campaign. Who can be called when families are in trouble?
- Contact your elected officials on behalf of families facing deportation.
- Help raise money for legal funds.
- Ask your administration to adopt protocols for school staff that are consistent with your Safe Schools for ALL campaign. Staff should be able to answer these questions:
- What do I do if immigration officials seek access to students or families on school grounds?
- Who will notify parents and families if immigration action takes place on school grounds?
- Who can students turn to at school if their family is torn apart?
Step 4—Know Your Rights
- Host a Know Your Rights training to inform parents of their rights to stand up to immigration officials—and your rights to defend your school community.
- School staff have rights to refuse intrusions by immigration officials. Include teachers and staff in your meetings so they know how to protect their students and families.
- P4T can help facilitate the trainings. Contact us for more information. [email protected].
Provide a resource list to families
- Ask your school to include the resources below on its website or Facebook page.
- Share the info through your school’s email list and other communication channels.
- Develop this list as you get to understand more about your community’s specific needs.
Resources for Families
National Immigration Justice Center, http://www.immigrantjustice.org/
312-660-1370. Legal services and information for immigrants.
Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, www.icirr.org
1-855-HELP-MY-FAMILY. Resources for immigrants and refugees.
Hana Center, www.hanacenter.org,
1-844-500-3222. Resources for Korean Americans.
Access Living, www.accessliving.org
312-640-2100. Advocacy and support for individuals with disabilities.
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, http://illinoissafeschools.org
312-533-2624. Support and advocacy for LGBTQ youth.
First Defense Legal Aid, https://www.first-defense.org
1-800-LAW-REP-4. Free legal services to people in police custody.
Draft LSC Resolution
- Ask your LSC to add a discussion of the Safe Schools for All campaign to the next meeting’s agenda.
- Present the Unity Pledge or Safe Schools for All resolution. Ask your LSC to defend vulnerable students and families by passing this draft resolution. Find ways to make it fit the unique culture and circumstances of your school.
- P4T and community organizations are asking the CPS Board of Education to adopt a similar resolution. Your school can sign on to that, too.
- Report the results of your LSC action to P4T. We’ll keep a tally of schools taking action. ([email protected])
WHEREAS, the 2016 election resulted in a president who used fear and hate against undocumented immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQ people, women and African Americans.
WHEREAS the president’s harmful campaign promises included building a wall and deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, creating a registry for Muslims living in the U.S. and implementing stop and frisk policies that have targeted the African American community and will accelerate the school to prison pipeline.
WHEREAS our schools are anchors in our communities and should be safe and supportive spaces that cultivate love and compassion for all of our students and their families.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that we, as the elected representatives of the [school name] community, pledge to support and advocate for our students and their families. To that end, we direct our school to REFUSE TO:
Cooperate with law enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deport or incarcerate our youth or their families;
Divulge information on the immigration status of families or students to ICE;
Comply with any federal rules that require a Muslim registry;
Cooperate with federal or local stop and frisk mandates;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT
We want school staff to receive training about the rights of undocumented students and parents, DACA regulations and the implications of removing those provisions, creating safe sanctuary schools, and the rights of our teachers to defend their students in the face of deportation or the threats thereof;
We continue to advocate for wrap around services and social/emotional supports like school counselors and social workers;
We work with our administration to develop protocols that respond to students who experience trauma due to violence or deportation.
About Parents 4 Teachers
Parents 4 Teachers (P4T) is a CPS parent group that stands up for teachers, defends public education and fights for quality schools for ALL children. We believe building solidarity among parents, teachers and the teachers union and fighting racist school policies is key to building an equitable, just and quality public school system for all of Chicago. To join our work, contact us at [email protected].