A day after President Donald Trump’s administration announced plans to rescind the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, the Shawnee Mission School District has issued a statement to patron families reiterating its position to welcome and education students regardless of their immigration status.
The full statement, signed by Board President Craig Denny and Interim Superintendent Kenny Southwick, is copied below:
Dear SMSD Families,
Every student is valued and important in the Shawnee Mission School District. In keeping with the vision of “all means all,” we welcome and take seriously the responsibility to serve all learners and families in our district.
We recognize that the recent announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) creates challenges for students and families we serve within the Shawnee Mission School District. We will exhaust all of our dedicated internal and external resources to take care of families.
We want our message to be clear: Our schools are a safe place for students. Our job is to take care of all students, staff, and families. Our doors will continue to be open to serving every child and supporting every family.
We are hopeful that Congress will answer this call to action and provide legislation to correct this issue. But in the meantime, the Shawnee Mission School District will be here to support all in need.
Schools in the Shawnee Mission School District do not and will not ask students or their parents for information about their immigration status. We will continue to welcome all to our schools and provide vibrant environments for students to engage in learning, growing, and building the best futures possible.
When additional information or support is needed, please contact your school or district administration.
Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools Superintendent Cynthia Lane published a forceful piece on her district blog denouncing the DACA decision Wednesday morning.
“I feel deep sadness, and frankly disgust, at the decision by the Administration to end the DACA program,” she wrote. “Has my country changed so much that we are no longer standing behind our nation’s creed of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all men (and women)? Are we really willing to discard 800,000 youth, who believed in our promise that America would do what is right by them?…What I want my students and families to know is this: We value our diversity. It does not matter to us in KCKPS if you were born here or brought here. You matter to us. We will do everything in our power to ensure you are safe, and that you receive a quality education.”
Neither the Olathe nor the Blue Valley School District has posted any public statements on their websites or social media channels regarding the DACA decision.
The statement from Denny and Southwick represents the second time this year Shawnee Mission has taken public action to signal support for immigrant families. In April, the board approved a resolution on student rights and immigration enforcement that put a clear prohibition on immigration enforcement officers on school property without prior notification. The drafting and passage of that resolution came in the wake of an incident in February in which a Briarwood Elementary students was transported from the school to the Division of Child and Family Services in Olathe by municipal police officers after his mother was detained by immigration officials.