Milford school board members are considering a new policy that would protect undocumented students and establish new protocols if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents show up.
The proposal falls under the district’s attempts to protect the privacy of its students, citing the Federal
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which gives parents certain protections with regard to their child’s education records.
The proposal, Policy 5313A, specifically addresses ICE and what would happen if the agency comes to one of the schools, approaches staff, and attempts to enforce immigration laws.
The proposal grants the authority of whether or not to cooperate with ICE or other government officials with the district’s superintendent, currently Kevin Dickerson, who WGMD has reached out to and said:
“The Board is considering district-wide policies to ensure compliance with Federal and State student privacy laws for all students and families,” Dickerson told our Rob Petree. “Included within is eliminating opportunities for error when law enforcement officials request information. The draft policies remain under review and discussion by the Board. We will continue cooperating with law enforcement officials as we always have.”
“In the event U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials, or any other federal, state or local law officials acting to enforce immigration laws enter upon school property or vehicles for purposes of enforcement or to inquire about students’ immigration status or records, the official(s) shall be referred to the Office of the Superintendent and the Superintendent or Designee shall be notified immediately,” the proposed policy reads.
The proposed policy would stand on its own instead of falling under FERPA in the case that staff needed to find it quickly in the event that ICE or another government official showed up and that specific policy needed to be referenced in response.
“It really gives us more guidance if we do have Immigration or Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials ever coming and asking for information on a student or a students family,” a district official read during a board meeting on Monday, January 27, 2019.
Milford board member Rony Baltazar-Lopez brought forth the proposal in November, according to the Delaware State News, and referenced his own experiences as a child concerning ICE.
If passed, the policy would also apply to school buses, according to district officials who revised the proposal after it was brought forth in November to include that provision.
Similar policies were passed and implemented in the Christina and Red Clay School Districts.