Denver schools to provide safe haven for students from immigration officers

DENVER -- Denver Public Schools on Thursday proclaimed itself a safe and welcoming school district.

The school board unanimously passed the resolution.

“We will do everything in our lawful power to protect those constitutional rights and legal rights of our students,” Superintendent Tom Boasberg said.

The resolution proclaims DPS will continue its practice of not collecting information about students’ immigration status.

Additionally, DPS will not share students’ personal information with immigration officers unless required by law and they will not be allowed on district property or inside schools without a search warrant.

“We will support their safety and emotional well-being regardless of religion and immigration status,” school board member Lisa Flores said.

The safe haven will extend beyond the classroom to include after-school activities and bus rides.

“When our students know that they are safe and they’re confident in their safety, they will be more successful as students and their success as students is so vital to our shared success as a community,” Boasberg said.

DPS said Thursday’s action is a direct result of fears sweeping across classrooms.

“I know that there is a lot of silent suffering and anxiety going on in our schools and we need to be proactive about helping our students and families with these issues,” board member Rachele Espiritu said.

However, critics of the resolution argue taxpayers should not be responsible for funding the education of undocumented students.

“It just makes me kind of upset a little bit because I think we have a right to be here just as much as they do,” Strive Prep junior Alanis Hernandez said. "I come from a family of immigrants. It’s important that we are acknowledged and seen as valuable.”

Hernandez and several other students marched in support of the district's decision.

The group that organized the rally, Padres y Jovenes Unidos, believes it is a step in the right direction. It collected more than 1,000 signatures to help urge board members who might have been on the fence before the vote.