LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - More than 2,000 Las Cruces Public Schools students missed class Thursday, February 16, 2017, the same day many immigrants and activists in New Mexico decided to skip school and work to protest President Trump's immigration policies.
LCPS officials said 919 elementary students missed school. They tell ABC-7's New Mexico Mobile Newsroom they were surprised at the high number of absences involving elementary school students.
The previous Thursday, only 371 elementary students missed school. A month ago, only 326 elementary students missed school on the same day.
Also on Thursday February 16, 2017, 528 middle school students and 919 high school students missed class.
The previous Thursday, 368 middle school students and 745 high school students missed class. A month ago, 321 middle school students and 779 high school students missed class on the same day.
A district spokeswoman said all absences will be marked as "unexcused."
District Superintendent, Dr. Greg Ewing, sent parents a letter, letting them know schools are considered a "sensitive location" and ICE will never target students while at school.
"There has been no event on any school campus, but we know this has caused heightened anxiety in our community," Ewing's letter states, "I want all families to know that our school district's number one priority is to keep our schools safe, secure and welcoming to all children who are enrolled, or plan to enroll, in our school system. We do not anticipate any ICE activity occurring on school campuses."
Ewing goes on to state, "enforcement actions such as arrests, interviews, searches or surveillance should not occur at a school location unless there is an extreme circumstance. Based on this policy, you should feel assured that your children are safe at school and we encourage you to send them to school every day, on time."