Milwaukee Public Schools: Maintains its commitment as a safe haven district

Contact:
Andy Nelson, Media Manager
414-688-9664
[email protected]

MILWAUKEE, WI – The District maintains its commitment that all locations within Milwaukee Public Schools are safe havens for students and families of any immigration status. In 2017, the Board made a commitment to the Milwaukee community to maintain the privacy of every family, especially in regard to immigration status. The Board, district leaders, and staff want to ensure that students continue to attend school daily and that families feel safe in attending school events and communicating with school personnel.

This week, the District issued a statement outlining the district’s ongoing commitment to families to ensure safety and access to education. The full content of the letter can be viewed below and is available for download in English and Spanish.

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Two years ago, the Milwaukee Board of School Directors passed a “Safe Haven” resolution. This resolution was intended to assure our students, their families and communities that we will do everything in our power to safeguard students’ safety, emotional well-being and family support, regardless of immigration status. We also affirmed opposition to any disruption by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to our children’s educational environment, whether in school or in the community.

The killings in El Paso, children behind bars at the border, and the children abandoned in Mississippi, due to their parents’ arrest by ICE has left many children in America living in daily fear. Milwaukee Public Schools join the many who condemned these acts of violence, racism and hatred that have affected so many families.

The district remains committed to the elements of the “Safe Haven” Resolution:

  • MPS employees, contractors, volunteers and representatives:
    • Shall not use district resources for the purpose of detecting or assisting in the apprehension of undocumented persons in the United States, unless required by any applicable state or federal law and unless proper procedures are followed by district personnel prior to disclosure; and,
    • Shall not make unreasonable inquiries from a student or his/her parents for the purpose of exposing the immigration status of the student or his/her family; and,
    • Shall not disclose to ICE or other immigration-law-enforcement personnel any information about any district student’s or family’s immigration status unless required to do so by any applicable state or federal laws and unless proper procedures are followed by district personnel prior to disclosure; and,
    • Shall not disclose to ICE or other immigration-law-enforcement personnel any information about any district student that is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or any applicable state or federal law, or MPS policy or procedure pertaining to confidential student records, unless required by any applicable state or federal law and unless proper procedures are followed by district personnel prior to disclosure; and,
  • That no ICE officer or other immigration-law-enforcement personnel shall be granted immediate access to any district school for the purpose of enforcing immigration laws and shall be referred immediately to the Superintendent or designee; and,
  • That MPS shall review its record-keeping policies and practices to ensure the highest level of protection of student privacy; and,
  • That the district shall post the “Safe Haven” Resolution in complete and in a digest version at every school site and distribute it to district staff, students, and families through usual means of communication and that MPS shall take all reasonable measures to ensure that the Resolution shall be translated into all languages spoken by students at home.

We remain hopeful for the creation of a better America and world where the safety of children, their families and communities come first.

We send our condolences to those who are hurting and wish for their quick healing and for peace in our nation.

Sincerely,

Larry F. Miller, President, Milwaukee Board of School Directors
Luis A. (Tony) Baéz, Vice President, Milwaukee Board of School Directors
Dr. Keith P. Posley, Superintendent of Schools

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