Tucson Unified School District's governing board has voted unanimously to declare TUSD an Immigrant Friendly District.
The resolution, the first of its kind for a school district in the nation, was brought to the board by Superintendent Dr. H.T. Sanchez. It pledges to help all students pursue a higher education regardless of immigration status and supports the April 19 National Educators' Coming Out Day led by the Dream Educational Empowerment Program of United We Dream and Scholarships A-Z, an organization that helps undocumented immigrants attend college.
"The strength of our nation has always been people who bring their dreams to fruition within our borders," Dr. Sanchez said. "How could we not, as educators, support the education of all students?"
In his introduction of the resolution, Dr. Sanchez said the idea came about when two former TUSD students and a teacher asked him if the district would put a banner in support of immigrant education on its website.
Dr. Sanchez said he would do them one better and challenged them to craft a resolution he could take to the governing board to officially declare the district immigrant friendly. He had it on his desk that day.
"These young people have an important story to tell, but more important is their mission to help others," Dr. Sanchez said.
Erick Aparicio, a former TUSD student who helped write the resolution, told the board of his struggle as a high school student to get information about pursuing college until he found out about Scholarship A-Z. He believes TUSD's commitment to being immigrant friendly will help students of today.
"I want to thank you for doing the right thing," he told the board.
The Tucson City Council declared the City of Tucson an "Immigrant Welcoming City" in August 2012, and Pima County passed a similar designation in February. Pima Community College has also demonstrated an immigrant friendly stance. It offers in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants.
Whereas on April 9, 2014 cities, school districts and organizations across the United States will celebrate "National Educators' Coming Out Day," led by the Dream Educational Empowerment Program of United We Dream and Scholarships A Z.
Whereas this day gives educators the opportunity to show their public support of immigrant students.
Whereas Tucson Unified School District is a school district that serves numerous immigrant families.
Whereas Tucson Unified School District, its administration, teachers, counselors and staff will support all students equally, whether documented or undocumented, as required by Plyler v Doe.
Whereas Tucson Unified School District will help all students pursue a higher education, regardless of immigration status.
Be it resolved that the Tucson Unified School District supports "National Educators' Coming Out Day."
Adopted this 25th day of March, 2014.