Border

In light of ICE operations, EPISD assures schools are "safe zones"

Students fear deportation
EL PASO, Texas - With ongoing concern over targeted ICE operations, one local school district is assuring students they're safe at school. 
 
Students at Bowie High School tell ABC-7 their own friends are afraid of going to class, because they fear being deported while at school.
 
"They're scared of coming over all the days, and they just want to stay over there," one student said. 
 
"We know a kid who left school because he was scared," another student said. 
 
Another student says his history teacher has told students to speak to faculty if they have any concerns. 
 
"He teach us history he said, here's the amendments and you have the right to say no and you have any problems some talk to me, talk to your other teachers."
 
In light of targeted operations, EPISD board members sent faculty, parents and students a letter two weeks which reads in part, "Local ICE officials have assured EPISD that they have no plans to conduct any enforcement actions at our schools."
 
The letter goes on to state, "Under federal policy, schools are given unique protection. ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) should not conduct apprehensions, arrests, interviews or searches of individuals at a school without prior approval or exigent circumstances related to national security, terrorism or public safety."
 
The letter ends by stating, "EPISD's policies and procedures forbids the release of confidential information about our students to anyone without written permission from a parent/legal guardian or a court-issued order. Your children are safe with us."
 
"We wanted to assure our community that schools are safe zones," EPISD Spokeswoman Melissa Martinez said.
 
Martinez says there were several students who voiced their concerns to faculty. 
 
"I think there was the initial concerns from when it was first being reported across the state and the country that there were other communities that were experiencing, neighboring communities here outside of El Paso County," Martinez said.
 
Despite the rumors, Martinez says no raids have been performed at any school and they have not seen a significant change in attendance since operations began. She asks anyone with concerns to contact the district. She says staff can't provide legal counsel, but teachers and counselors are available to help speak to students. 
 
"Part of the purpose in getting that information out to our own employees so that in the event that a child would come to them with concerns, they would have that information and be able to assure them that school is a safe place."

EPISD board members also adopted a resolution this week during a board meeting, ensuring schools are safe zones.

Martinez adds the district's community schools coordinator is setting up meetings at schools to speak to students and their families, although they cannot provide legal counsel. 


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