Cary, N.C. — Wake County Public School System Superintendent Cathy Moore on Tuesday night addressed concerns from parents and teachers who say some students are fearful about immigration enforcement in the county.
The fears come on the heels of several ICE raids last month that resulted in the detainment of more than 200 people, including 27 at a gun manufacturer in Sanford.
Fernando Martinez has two nephews and a niece who attend Wake County schools. They are documented, but know many children who are not.
Martinez said fear is impacting the learning environment.
“They are scared for other children,” he said.
Martinez on Tuesday night addressed the Wake County school board to talk about those fears.
“Invest in psychologists and school counselors as well in the school to deal with the trauma and pain that the immigrant families are facing,” he said.
In response to community feedback, Moore said she has been in touch with principals to clarify guidelines for handling undocumented students.
“School resource officers are not assigned any immigration enforcement duties. In addition, principals are being asked to notify the superintendent of any attempt by any immigration law enforcement officials to enter school property,” Moore said.
The school system’s policy 5120 outlines how schools should conduct interactions with law enforcement on school property.
Martinez and supporters said it doesn’t go far enough, and that the policy should specifically address immigration officials.
“We want to include ICE on the list, and we also want to include language around requesting that ICE provide a warrant signed by the immigration judge,” Martinez said.
Moore wants families to rest assured that undocumented students are protected.
“Immigrations and customs enforcement has never entered one of our campuses and we see no reason why that would change in the future,” she said. “While we are unable to control immigration issues beyond our campus boundaries, we can ensure a learning community where the legal and educational rights of students and families are protected to the full extent of the law.”
ICE does have a sensitive locations policy that limits where they conduct enforcement actions, including at schools.