L.A. Unified leaders support DACA’s ‘Dreamers’

LOS ANGELES - L.A. Unified leaders voiced support today for students, employees and families who have prospered as “Dreamers,” and they called on the Trump administration to extend protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Superintendent Michelle King and members of the Board of Education also reiterated that L.A. Unified schools are “safe zones,” meaning that immigration law enforcement agents looking to gather information or conduct enforcement actions are not allowed on campus without a review by District officials.

“This District has long promoted the values and principles of inclusion, and our students are welcomed daily by staff ready to provide them with the education they need to succeed. We will continue to offer a safe and respectful teaching and learning environment that is free from discrimination or other obstacles that can impede student achievement,” Dr. King said.

“We call on the Trump administration to continue the support for these young immigrants, who have become valuable contributors to the community and the nation they consider their home,” she said.

Board President Dr. Ref Rodriguez said that L.A.’s schools are places of opportunity for students and teachers alike.

“Dreamers, whether they are students or teachers, have worked hard to contribute to this beautiful country and city, and they should be celebrated, not turned away,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “We will do everything in our power to protect every one of those students and every one of those employees. This is what makes a great city and school district.”

“Dreamers have strengthened America by contributing to the economy in dollars, ideas, and culture,” said Board Vice President Mónica García.

“They learned that the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution began the destruction of overt slavery. In California, Felicitas and Gonzalo Mendez mounted a herculean effort to topple racial segregation in our schools. The 19th Amendment was a victory against sexism. And they learned that the 1964 Civil Rights Act began the conversation to end racism in our country.

“Dreamers and their families have experienced a reality of opportunity instead of the shadows of despair,” García continued. “America has always been at the forefront of democratic ideals for the world. We cannot and will not stand for government consent and subjugation of our students, families, neighbors, and friends. We know wrong when we see it.”

"We are proud to support the District's continued commitment to DACA-eligible students,” said Dr. George J. McKenna III, who represents South Los Angeles. “As an educational entity, we will not deny any child who comes through our schoolhouse door the right to a world-class education."

“DACA has changed the lives of Dreamers and their families and provided them with the opportunity to give back to the community,” said Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson, who represents the West San Fernando Valley. “They have earned our support and our commitment to continue the DACA program.”

“There are few better representatives of the transformative power of public education than ‘Dreamers,’” said Board Member Nick Melvoin, whose district stretches from the Valley to the Westside. “While the White House continues its assault on our kids, families and public schools, we at L.A. Unified stand with our communities and will fight vigorously to protect DACA. And as we call on the administration to protect our students, we will ensure our kids and parents are safe and secure in our schools."

“DACA has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth, opening doors for them to achieve their dreams and enriching our country in the process,” said Board Member Kelly Gonez, who represents the East Valley. “As a teacher and the daughter of an immigrant, I know firsthand the ways in which immigrants, including DACA recipients, have made our country vibrant and strong.

“I urge my fellow educators and elected leaders to come together to defend DACA and fight to ensure that all young people, regardless of their immigration status, have the chance to realize their American Dream,” Gonez said.

“I support the efforts of Gov. Brown to protect the DACA program,” said Dr. Richard Vladovic, who represents the South Bay. “It is unconscionable to punish children – who have lived their entire lives in this country and know no other way of life – for the actions of others.”

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Contact: Shanon Haber (213) 241-6766