West New York BOE makes school district a ‘safe zone’ for immigrant students


The West New York Board of Education unanimously approved (8-0) a measure declaring the school district a “safe zone” for students regardless of their immigration status.West New York BOE

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“In West New York, we have made a commitment to act in the best interest of all of our students as we continue to celebrate our ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity,”  Board President Adam Parkinson said in a statement.

“I wholeheartedly believe that everyone has the right to a quality free public education.

Like a resolution passed by the Jersey City council last night regarding their sanctuary city status, the move is largely symbolic since public schools are regarded as “safe places” by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

In both scenarios, the measure is in response to President Donald Trump (R) passing an immigration order banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the country – though a federal judge lifted the order last week.

“I fully support this resolution; it ensures the right of our students to study in a safe environment, memorializing the commitment of our district and our great state’s constitutional obligation to provide every school-age child in New Jersey a thorough and efficient education, no matter your background,” added Trustee Jonathan Castaneda.

“While there are those who may stand for oppression, this governing body today agreed that our community is all-inclusive and welcoming to all.”

Trustee Steven Rodas also introduced a resolution supporting a state Senate bill sponsored by President Steven Sweeney (D-3) and Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37) condemning Trump’s immigration order and travel ban.

“As a second generation immigrant, son of immigrant parents that left their country to start a new life and take advantage of the many opportunities that the our country has to offer, I believe President’s trump actions are unjust, divisive, discriminatory and places fear amongst adults and children throughout our community, state, and country,” he said.

That resolution passed by a vote of 7-1, with Trustee Ron Scheurle, a Republican, being the only board member to vote against it. Trustee Denise Mejia was absent from the meeting.

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