BOULDER, Colo. – A private preschool in Boulder will close in the wake of an immigration controversy, according to school leadership. The preschool is located inside a church that will soon become a sanctuary site for an undocumented immigrant facing deportation.
FOX31 first reported the church’s decision to become a sanctuary location in late October
Even amid the fallout, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder is standing firm on a pillar of its religious practice.
“It really is to be able to use our faith voice to cry out to government to say … our immigration system is broken,” Rev. Kelly Dignan told FOX31.
The congregation voted to allow the church to house one immigrant facing deportation. Dignan said the church is making room for someone without a violent history. The immigrant’s only crime is being here illegally, according to immigration activists.
Active Boulder Kids Preschool said, even with assurances children will be safe, it must close. The private preschool company rents space inside the church building.
“[Parents are] concerned that this is a controversial issue,” said Active Boulder Kids Preschool director Tina Davis.
Protests and media attention that have been part of immigration controversies elsewhere is something parents do not want associated with their children, according to Davis.
“[Parents] didn’t feel like the church really heard their concerns,” Davis explained.
22 children are currently enrolled in two classrooms within the church building. There are three teachers and one director employed at the school.
Dignan said changes have already been made to ensure a living area and school would remain separate. She calls the preschool’s planned closure a missed opportunity.
“We had the opportunity to come together as a community through sanctuary,” she explained.
But Davis said the school didn’t have a choice. She told FOX31 parents have already pulled children from the program because of the church’s decision. Shrinking enrollment is creating financial hardships for the school, according to Davis. She said three educators, including herself, will be laid off.
“It’s really interrupting a lot of lives– our kids’ lives,” Davis said.
Church officials have not yet decided if the church will open its own preschool. The final day for the school is set for November 29. The church is still waiting for a referral to house a person at risk of deportation.