Bakersfield City School District trustees could join others around the state Thursday by declaring it a “safe haven” for undocumented students, a move that immigration experts say is mostly “political posturing,” but critically important in quelling fears among vulnerable communities in uncertain times.

The resolution, which will be voted on Thursday and was proposed by board President Lillian Tafoya, establishes that student records will be withheld from outside agencies and that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials will not be allowed to enter district properties without superintendent approval.

“The majority of our students are Latino, and we have a lot of families that are uncomfortable and feel unsafe because of the political rhetoric that they hear over and over again,” Tafoya said. “We want to validate that we’re a district that cares about our kids and we’ll do everything we can to ensure they feel welcomed and safe, and we’ll go about our business of teaching and learning.”

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson urged school districts in December to declare themselves “safe havens” and that no student records could be released to federal officials without parental consent.

BCSD’s safe haven proposal comes about a week after the Department of Homeland Security created guidelines based on President Donald Trump’s January executive order that gives ICE agents broad discretion in deporting undocumented immigrants.

Historically, ICE agents have not stepped foot on school grounds to deport people because they’re considered “sensitive locations” by the agency, and are largely off-limits.

“While we’re not in the business in engaging in speculation, I would underscore that, at the present time, that guidance remains in effect,” ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.

Guidelines created by DHS late last month don’t impact “sensitive locations,” said Win Eaton, a Bakersfield-based certified specialist in immigration law.

“A lot of it is political posturing, and necessary political posturing to alleviate the concerns of terrified families and parents,” Eaton said.

Tafoya acknowledged that the resolution is a “cautionary measure.”

“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. At this point it’s really not an issue we’ve had to deal with,” Tafoya said.

A Greenfield Union School District spokesman said its board has been discussing the possibility of introducing a similar “safe haven” resolution this year.

Kern High School District officials said it's their policy to not release student records without parental consent, a court order or valid subpoena, and that the district does not maintain records pertaining to citizenship status.

“Currently, the KHSD is monitoring the guidance and actions on both the federal and state levels, and will continue to closely evaluate these issues and their impact on KHSD students, families and the district itself. The most important thing for the KHSD is that we provide quality instruction within a safe learning environment for all of our students,” spokeswoman Lisa Krch said.

When asked about whether KHSD would adopt a “safe haven” resolution like BCSD, trustee Mike Williams said the district would “follow the law,” and cooperate with federal agents.

“I’ve said this many times in issues that I disagree with: We will follow the law,” Williams said. “That’s a tough thing when it comes to immigration, so I don’t know what we’ll be asked to do, but I’d hope that as a district we’ll always cooperate with the law. And if the law needs to be changed, then let’s fight to have the law changed, but we can’t pick and choose which laws we’re going to live by.”

(12) comments

Pedman
Pedman

Lazy? Sure, I work a full time job, mow my own lawn, change my own car oil plus a hundred other things for my family and others. Do not need illegal alien workers thanks! And maybe if the schools are not overwhelmed they could teach real history, mathematics, English and trades.

Tam Daras
Tam Daras

Safe haven means ADA- average daily attendance- for every child in a seat. When BCSD sees 20% or more of students disappear, teachers will be pink slipped. When these kids go, many of you lazy gabachos will have to cut your own grass because their parents will take them across the border. Who will clean your house, pour your cement, put in your drywall, bus your table, change your oil, rotate your tires?

Pedman
Pedman

Ironic that the same place my mother attened classes to become a US citizen is being used as a safe place for deadbeats that are here illegally. Citizenship in this country is not a right it is a privilege earned. My mom was an alien from Australia, she was only 19, with her husband fighting in the Pacific. It took her seven years to become a citizen. All the illegals should do the same.

Jpb1055
Jpb1055

Then the Bakersfield City School District trustees can expect a recall. This is a democracy. Let's vote them out. It's the liberal left at work and it's roots are in the California Education system.

georgieboy11
georgieboy11

Schools have never asked for "documentation" as far as I know.

CTurk3
CTurk3

Hopefully, the BSCD will forfeit all of the Federal money it receives by taking this stand. But I'm sure the "illegal aliens" will "pony" up the money to replace anything that is lost.

Churchillis1
Churchillis1

Call me crazy, but making your property a "safe haven" for a criminal to hide from the authorities used to be called "Harboring a fugitive."

This lawless behavior is disgusting. As a property tax paying citizen and resident of Bakersfield, this is completely unacceptable.

Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane

Perhaps BCSD simply has too much money and needs drained of it by a CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT issued from the People of Kern County V BCSD Board of Directors, eh?? That might wake them up to what the word ILLEGAL means not to mention BROKE.

Brian
Brian

I like how a board of a few liberals want to speak for the voters of Bakersfield who inas one do not want he schools my tax dollars pay for. My kids are also grown so the dumbing down of studies so the non English speakers can be brought up to speed at the expense of the taxpayers kids is on them.

Steve
Steve

I think its pretty telling when the lady says "most of our kids are Latino" Just glad my kid is grown up. Today it is being racist to say we want the best education for our children, which they arent getting when class sizes are getting larger and larger and more and more children come into the system with english not their first language .Im sorry but I do not appreciate that my tax money is spent on children or adults from another country. I promise you Mexico isnt even over there spending their tax revenue on illegal immigrants. Again im sure some will take my words as racist but I disagree. Just like its not racist to want to build the wall. How many out there that say im racist lock the doors to your homes when you leave or at night? All of you do. No difference. The wall will have a gate in it that will easily be opened for anyone who legally wants to enter or exit. just like the door to your home it is only locked to keep just anyone who wants to enter do so.

Nevermind
Nevermind

The telling part is absolutely a true statement. In 20 years Latinos will be the majority here in Kern County. Illegal immigration is down, yet suddenly its this huge drain on us. As Herman Goering said, the way to get the people to do your bidding, is to convince them that outside forces are coming to get them.

GaryJohns
GaryJohns

"Following the Law"..... What a concept....

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