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L.A.'s education board sends a message to Trump: Schools will stay ‘safe zones’ for students here illegally

school bus
Students board a bus back to school after walking out of class and attending a march in downtown Los Angeles on Nov. 14, 2016.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The nation’s second-largest school system on Tuesday sent a message to President-elect Donald Trump: Los Angeles’ public schools will continue to be “safe zones” for students in the U.S. illegally.

The Los Angeles Board of Education voted to approve a resolution reaffirming L.A. Unified’s current policy, which directs school staff members not to allow federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents onto school campuses unless their visit has been approved by the superintendent and the district’s lawyers. Board members also seconded a policy that protects the immigration information and identities of students, family members and school staff.

Board members also agreed to write a joint letter to Trump “affirming the American ideals that are celebrated in Los Angeles.”

In the past, these policies have been largely symbolic — ICE considers schools and churches to be “sensitive” locations and does not carry out raids in schools, according to the agency.

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The board’s vote was a direct response to Trump’s election and the possibility that protections for illegal immigrants put in place under President Obama could be removed.

During his campaign, Trump vowed to deport millions of immigrants, a promise he has reiterated since his election, saying he would remove 2 million to 3 million immigrants who have committed crimes. He has also opposed Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, which provided work permits and deportation reprieves to people who were brought to the U.S. as children and stayed illegally.

At their meeting on Tuesday, some L.A. school board members described Trump’s election as a nightmare from which they couldn’t quite wake. Others commented on the waves of fear his comments have sent through schools in immigrant communities.

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“On Wednesday morning, I think it’s safe to say that the superintendent and I, listening to children, heard things that shook us deeply,” said board President Steve Zimmer.

To read the article in Spanish, click here

anna.phillips@latimes.com

Twitter: @annamphillips

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