Resources for Charter Schools

Summary

Charter Schools are safe spaces for all students. This toolkit helps California public charter schools ensure that they remain so.

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CCSA is working with charter schools across California to ensure that all students, regardless of immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, class, faith, or disability may access high quality public school options.

Charter schools offer a welcoming, safe space for all students where diverse perspectives are respected and student safety--both physically and emotionally--remains the top priority.

The following resources are provided to help schools address the needs of their communities related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, protections for LGBTQ youth, and any policies that specifically affect Muslim families.

These resources do not indicate an endorsement of a particular political viewpoint; they are meant to help charter schools address questions and concerns within their respective school communities. This list will be updated as more resources become available.

Visit CCSA Families for more information.




Know Your Rights! Booklet
In light of the recent arrest and deportation actions against parents in Los Angeles and Southern California, CCSA has received multiple inquiries from charter school leaders and parents regarding how best to prepare for such a worst case scenario. This Family Preparedness Information Bulletin includes suggestions from Child Welfare Services, Child Protective Services, and Legal Aid offices in 58 California counties. In addition, this Know Your Rights! Booklet provides information on how families can protect themselves in the event of an immigration raid.

Immigration Law Briefing for Schools
Immigration Law Briefing for Schools (presentation by Gabriel Sandoval and Elizabeth Zamora-Mejia, partners at Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo) which aims to help those who work at school sites with students, including administrators and principals, understand the law, what some of the emerging issues are because of a change in policy, and to provide clarity regarding the rights of students and parents.

California Child Protective Services/Child Welfare Services Contact Information
CCSA has compiled the contact information for the Child Protective Services/Child Welfare Services office in each of the 58 California counties for easy reference. This is because, in the majority of cases, children whose guardians unexpectedly become impacted by a deportation action, would initially be placed in the care of a county's Child Protective Services/Child Welfare Services department.

Americans for Immigrant Justice
Non-profit law firm that champions the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocates for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serves as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; and speaks for immigrant groups who have particular and compelling claims to justice.

"Immigrant Rights Under a Trump Presidency: FAQs for Students, Educators, and Social Service Providers"
Answers to common questions about what a Trump presidency might mean for immigrants.

"Help for Immigrant Families Post-Election: Guidance for Schools"
Advisory as to how schools can play a critical role in ensuring immigrant families have access to important information and resources.

"Advisory Regarding DACA Program After Presidential Election"
Answers to FAQs about what a Trump presidency might mean for DACA.

Undocumented Students and Families: The Facts
Answers to common questions about the rights of undocumented students and their families, and the potential consequences of sanctuary status for schools.

California Alliance of Child and Family Services A list of service providers that schools can use for mental and other family services referrals relative to immigration crises.

California School Boards Association: Resources for Students Impacted by Immigration Status
A list of resources put together by the California School Boards Association to help school districts better serve all students, no matter their immigration status.

Public Policy Institute of California Facts on Immigration
Statistics on immigrants in the State of California.

Immigrants' Rights FAQ - MALDEF
The Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF) offers an FAQ on immigrant rights for students, educators and social service providers.

Immigrants' Rights FAQ - ILRC
The Immigration Legal Resource Center (ILRC) offers an FAQ on immigrant rights for families.

Know Your Rights - NILC
The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) outlines individuals' rights in immigration-related situations.

Article: CCSA Files Amicus Briefs in Support of San Francisco and Santa Clara County's Motion Against Executive Order Stripping Funding From the Counties

Alliance for a Better Community Post-Election Immigration Watch and Resource Hub
Resource hub to help keep individuals and communities across Los Angeles informed of important immigration-related information, tools and resources provided by local officials, community based organizations, schools and the media.




Teaching Tolerance (tolerance.org)
Dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children by providing free educational materials to teachers and other school practitioners in the U.S. and Canada

"Managing The Challenges of the Political Season Bullying Prevention & Response Guide"

"Supporting Marginalized Students in Stressful Times: Tips for Educators"

"Framework for Safe and Successful Schools from National Association of School Psychologists"




Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination or violence

Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network
Works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment.




www.mpac.org
Muslim Public Affairs Council: Looks to improve public understanding and policies that impact American Muslims; encourages engagement through meetings with politicians, celebrities and other decision-makers

www.muslimadvocates.org
Muslim Advocates: A national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the front lines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths

www.cair.com
Council on American Islamic Relations: Civil rights department counsels, mediates and advocates on behalf of Muslims and others who have experienced religious discrimination, defamation or hate crimes

www.mlfa.org
Muslim Legal Fund of America: Funds legal work and programs to defend Muslims against injustice in American courtrooms, prisons, and communities.

Resources for Teaching Religious Literacy

Religious Diversity in the Classroom, a free webinar series produced by Teaching Tolerance and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, examines how teaching about religion across grade levels and subject areas can help meet academic standards. www.tolerance.org/religious-diversity-classroom

Unity Productions Foundation offers films and accompanying educational materials "aimed at increasing understanding ... especially among Muslims and other faiths." www.upf.tv/teachers

The Bridge Initiative offers a wealth of research about the forces that perpetuate Islamophobia and practical suggestions for how to counter them. bridge.georgetown.edu

"Dismantling Islamophobia," an article published by Harvard Graduate School of Education's online resource Usable Knowledge, offers six concrete ways to combat anti-Muslim bullying in schools. www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/16/11/dismantling-islamophobia

"Guidelines for Respecting Religious Diversity," Sample regulations and procedures to help ensure that students have the right to express their religious beliefs and practices, free from discrimination, bullying or harassment.




Safe School Resolutions
In a December 21, 2016 letter, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson publicly called for all California public schools to remain safe havens for students and their parents, and to remind families about existing laws that protect them and their students' records from questions about immigration status.

Several school boards across California, as well as the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, the California State University, and the University of California, have passed resolutions designating their campuses as safe zones and resource centers for students and families threatened by immigration enforcement, including:

Acalanes Union High School District
Alameda Unified School District
Berkeley Unified School District
California Community Colleges
California School Boards Association
Contra Costa Community College District
Culver City Unified School District
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District
Kipp Bay Area Schools
Los Angeles Unified School District
Mt. Diablo Unified School District
Oakland Unified School District
Palo Alto Unified School District
Pittsburg Unified School District
Pittsburg Unified School District (Spanish)
Riverside Unified School District
Sacramento City Unified School District
San Diego County Board of Education
San Diego Unified School District
San Francisco Board of Education
San Luis Coastal Unified School District
Santa Barbara Unified School District
Solano County Board of Education
The California State University
University of California
Voices College-Bound Language Academies

The goal of these resolutions is to provide assurance that public education institutions will continue to make every effort to provide a safe and welcoming campus environment for all students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the community and to emphasize that diversity and inclusivity are highly valued.

Schools that have not yet passed a resolution may pattern their interim communication with families after the Davis Joint Unified School District Message to Parents or the Statement from Superintendent Dr. David Hansen to Riverside Union School District parents. A list of California school districts that call themselves Safe Havens is available here.

In addition, SB 54: Law Enforcement: Sharing Data, a new bill proposed by Senate Leader Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) would create "safe zones" prohibiting immigration enforcement throughout California on public school, hospital and courthouse grounds.

Additional model board policies are available here.

The California Department of Education has created a Safe Havens web page with more information and resources for schools here.

Student Information
Although the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits student information from being released without permission from the student's parent or guardian, it is important for schools to remember that law enforcement is exempt. This loophole has led Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D-Long Beach) to author Assembly Bill 699 which would prohibit school districts from collecting a student's immigration status in order to prevent immigration agents from looking at student files that could in some way lead them to the immigration status of students or their parents.

Walkouts
It is important for charter schools to remember the following when responding to walkouts:

  • [X charter school] is here to serve students. For quality learning to unfold, students need to be in attendance.

  • Generally, students have the right to freedom of speech and assembly on school grounds if it does not disrupt the educational environment or is otherwise not offensive to others on campus.

  • Students do not have a free speech right to leave school to participate in protests, and any absence for this reason should be considered an unexcused absence.

  • If students leave their school campus during the school day without permission, a school official should supervise the students until they return to the school campus or are dismissed for the school day.

Facilitating Thoughtful Forums
For parents and teachers, Teaching for Change has provided a basic, but powerful, agenda for facilitating meetings with parents and educators to hold thoughtful forums in a safe space on post-election fears.




Working on behalf of charter schools and the communities they serve, CCSA has sent a number of letters to lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels concerning recent immigration policies that have impacted our schools.

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