Public policy is our focus at Chavez Schools, and there’s arguably no policy area more in the spotlight right now in America than immigration. We see how families have been separated by federal immigration policies. Recent arrests in the neighborhoods near Chavez Prep are particularly troubling. We know many of our scholars and their families are watching this, in fear. That’s why, on our campuses, we feel it is important to state unequivocally that anyone can feel safe and supported at Chavez.
To that end, our network’s board of trustees has adopted a resolution that designates all Chavez campuses as Sanctuary Schools. The resolution begins, “Chavez Schools are committed to maintaining a safe, emotionally supportive and equitable school environment for its students and employees; [and that] environment is threatened and placed at risk by the presence of immigration agents who come onto Chavez Schools’ property for the purposes of removing students or their family members, or obtaining information about students and their families.” Therefore, we resolve that "Every Chavez School site is a Sanctuary School and as such is a safe place for its students and employees...."
The resolution reaffirms our policy not to inquire about or record a student’s or a family member’s immigration status. It calls on Chavez to work with an appropriate organization to train staff on how to respond to requests from ICE for information or attempts to come on to school property. It further commits us to work with community-based organizations and legal services organizations to provide resources for our immigrant families.
We believe it is unlikely that Immigration and Customs Enforcement will seek to carry out its work on our campuses, or at any school in the District of Columbia. The right of students in the United States to be educated regardless of immigrant status has long been established. Still, in this moment for our country, standing as Sanctuary Schools with other schools in our city and elsewhere is a reminder to our community and anyone else that Chavez campuses are safe and welcoming places for learning, every day.