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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Make the Oklahoma City Public School District a Sanctuary

Thousands have signed petitions urging their campuses to protect undocumented students, who will likely be at increased risk of deportation under President-elect Donald Trump. (Photo: AP taken from the web site Common Dreams commondreams.org)

Since the election of Donald Trump with his message of deportation and exclusion, several colleges, particularly in New York state, have become "Sanctuary Campuses" to offer protection to undocumented students facing deportation. These sanctuary campuses refuse cooperation with federal authorities by denying them access to student records, barring immigration enforcement officers permission to come on campus to apprehend suspected undocumented students, and affirming that all their students have a right to an education free from harassment and intimidation. (Adapted from an article by Kate Aronoff in the social justice journal In These Times.)

I propose that the Oklahoma City Public School District with it large immigrant student body, which includes Hispanics, Asiatic, and African children, join this movement by declaring that our district is a sanctuary district, not only for its students but also for its staff, and that all of its campuses, workplaces, and offices are sanctuary sites.  As Claudia Carvajal, an NYU law student whose family emigrated to the US in 2012, stated at a rally in New York City:

In our current political climate, the rhetoric used by politicians and institutions is critical. . . . Anything short of a declaration that explicitly sends a message to the incoming [Trump] administration . . . falls short. (Kate Aronoff "Campuses Without Borders" In These Times, January 2017: 9)
I am in the process of contacting various administrators, board members, and community leaders to gain their support. Could my friends in the Central Oklahoma area, particularly those in the OKC school district help in this resistance? 


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