IPS board passes resolution to show support for immigrant families

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indianapolis Public Schools board reaffirmed its support for immigrant families just days after new national guidelines for increased deportation efforts were announced.

Resolution No. 7736 outlines the district's approach to immigration issues including not requiring social security numbers from students and not inquiring about a student's or family's immigration status.

The resolution passed Thursday night at a school board meeting.

“IPS will remain a safe and welcoming place for all students and families regardless of their immigration status,” IPS said on Twitter.

The resolution was drafted after parents addressed the board directly about concerns from the immigrant community. Manny Martinez was one of those parents.

"I know my children have expressed some fears that some of their classmates have," Martinez said.

While Martinez and his kids are U.S. citizens, he said other families face constant stress over their futures in the country.

"With that fear, it just doesn’t provide a good learning environment for a lot of the students," Martinez said.

IPS parent Kaila Vargas agrees.

"It's just something uncomfortable for our kids because it affects their learning," she said in Spanish. "There are many parents who are worried about coming to school or going to the store."

Earlier this month, CBS4 investigated how teachers at an IPS school for immigrants were addressing students' immigration worries.

IPS is a diverse district with students representing nearly 20 countries. Thirteen languages are spoken by IPS families.

"Being a large urban district, it’s important that not only our school families know, but the community at large knows, what our responsibilities are and our duties are," said school board member Dorene Hoops, who represents district 5. "That [duty] is to provide a safe environment for students."

Martinez said he hopes to see action from district leaders.

"It will allow for the school to provide a safe haven, in a way, for students and all children as well as give parents a sense of safety when it comes to being involved in your children’s activities," he said.

Read the resolution here.

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