You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Some Austin teachers warned not to give students information on ICE


Highlights

The school district’s attorneys cautioned educators not speak of controversial issues on campus

Some principals are forbidding teachers to distribute materials on how to respond to ICE raids

A handful of Austin district principals, after receiving an email from legal counsel, on Tuesday prohibited teachers or other campus staff from distributing materials to students detailing what to do if immigration enforcement officials show up at their homes or try to question them.

In a memo sent to principals Monday night, the district’s attorney spelled out limitations for educators:

“An employee, staff member, teacher, or administrator may not speak to political affiliation, views, protests, advocacy or other controversial issues or topics that may arise while on district property, whether that is in a classroom or in an administrative building, working as a district employee, or using district resources.”

The attorney also wrote that the same restrictions apply to district partner organizations, usually on campuses daily, such as Communities in Schools and Family Resource Centers.

Teachers at several campuses last week provided such information to students, as word spread of an immigration enforcement operation in Austin. Labor group Education Austin provided its 3,000 members with the various documents, including a United We Dream flier titled “What to do if ICE comes to your door,” referring to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Education Austin also hosted two “Know Your Rights” training sessions on immigration laws on Saturday that drew 250 educators.

Education Austin leaders disputed the legal advice of the school district’s attorneys, calling it a conservative interpretation of the law. The labor group plans to seek its own legal guidance on the issue. Preventing teachers from providing “information that supports their students,” only causes harm, said Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin.

Some immigrant parents withheld their children from school in recent days out of fear they, their children or family members may be detained by immigration enforcement officials. The labor group has been distributing information that says immigration enforcement actions generally do not occur at “sensitive locations,” including schools, unless someone poses an imminent threat.

“It’s real simple. Students are in crisis,” Zarifis said. “Where the students will turn to first outside of their household is their teacher and their school. If we don’t provide the information to them, we’re doing them a disservice. We believe it is a moral imperative to share this information with the families throughout this school district. We are still hopeful that the district will see this imperative and assist their families with knowledge and information. They need to be armed with the knowledge that will give them options and choices of what to do and how to protect their family.”

Pamphlets and fliers that had been placed in some campus offices were removed Monday and Tuesday, Zarifis said.

“They took any information down and told teachers not to disseminate information,” he said. “You have principals who are afraid because they’re being given a directive, even if they want to get information out.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

UT police investigating report of drive-by shooting

UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS UT police: Drive-by shooting reported University of Texas and Austin police are on the hunt for a gunman after reports of a drive-by shooting near campus Thursday morning. The scene unfolded at an off-campus construction site near the intersection of Dean Keeton and San Jacinto streets just after 10 a.m., when a man in a white sedan...
Cancer patient gets wish to meet jewelry maker Kendra Scott
Cancer patient gets wish to meet jewelry maker Kendra Scott

It was a request Kendra Scott says she couldn’t – and wouldn’t – refuse. An 18-year-old Memphis, Tenn., girl with a form of brain cancer with no known treatment or cure was eager to meet her, so the Austin-based jewelry designer whose brand has become known worldwide put her team to work on setting up a visit. “Once I...
Senate approves bill to alleviate charter school construction costs
Senate approves bill to alleviate charter school construction costs

The Senate approved a bill that would dole out $100 million to traditional school districts and charter schools to build and maintain their facilities over the next two years. Senate Bill 457 filed by Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels was originally proposed to give facilities funding to charter schools only. Currently, charter schools, which are...
Interim Austin police Chief Brian Manley to address ‘sanctuary cities’ bill
Interim Austin police Chief Brian Manley to address ‘sanctuary cities’ bill

Austin police interim Chief Brian Manley will hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday to discuss Senate Bill 4, the so-called sanctuary cities legislation heading for approval in the Texas Legislature. Manley has spoken out against the bill, saying it would damage bonds between police and the minority communities they serve. Other police chiefs...
Israeli missile launch: What is the Patriot Missile Defense System?
Israeli missile launch: What is the Patriot Missile Defense System?

The Israeli military deployed its missile defense system Thursday to intercept a drone fired from Syria, officials said. According to The Associated Press, the incident came after Syria accused Israel of attacking a military installation near Damascus International Airport early Thursday. While Israel has several defense systems, military officials...
More Stories