JCPS to discuss becoming a safe haven district

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JCPS will discuss becoming a “safe haven” school district at the general board meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

A few other school districts in the U.S. already have the safe haven policy in action, such as the Sacramento City Unified School District and the Dublin Unified School District.

The Sacramento City Unified School District defines a safe haven district as one that is, “committed to the success of all students irrespective of their immigration status, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, ability, sex and gender identity, socioeconomic status or beliefs.”

Dublin officially became a safe haven district on Jan. 24, 2017.

“We are referring to [safe haven] as our district being a safe place for students,” Michelle McDonald, the Public Information and Community Relations Officer for the Dublin Unified School District, said.

There won’t be any immigration actions enforced on campus,” McDonald said. “We make sure that school is a safe place to attend where [students] know that they will be able to go to school and their families will be able to come to school.”

McDonald said that the enactment of a safe haven policy helped to benefit the student body, which is described as 13% Hispanic and 49% Asian.

“It’s more of a reflection of a concern that we are seeing from our students and families,” McDonald said.

The University of Louisville’s immigrant advocacy organization Fighting for Immigrants’ Rights and Equality (FIRE) strongly supports this proposal, saying that it aligns with its mission statement and it would be beneficial to all of Louisville

“I believe that for immigrants, we wouldn’t have to fear about experiencing hate crimes,” Sagar Patagundi, a member of FIRE, said. “They wouldn’t have to live under the fear of deportation. We would know that our school system supports us.”

“As much as we encourage immigrants to stay in Louisville, we are also supporting our economy because immigrants pay taxes. This proposal would make immigrants feel welcome while creating a better and more accepting community,” Patagundi said.

“I’m a refugee and a Muslim, so knowing there are people like me that need help and protection, and that they can’t have it just because one person believes something that’s wrong is just upsetting to me,” Seyda Muratova (12, J&C) said.

“He can’t put every person in a box and say that they are a terrorist,” Muratova said.

Muratova said that she thinks a safe haven “would be an amazing idea since there are so many immigrants here,” in Louisville.

The board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. tonight at the VanHoose Education Center.

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Olivia Dawson is one of the Editors-in-Chief of RedEye this year. She is active in the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association and is passionate about youth advocacy. She loves binging on Netflix, eating southern food, and taking naps. Olivia is a music fanatic and can often be found at concerts. You can contact her at olivia.dawson@manualjc.com.