In a letter sent today, the ACLU of Colorado urged the Roaring Fork School Board to adopt a policy prohibiting the current practice of School Resource Officers (SROs) collaborating with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
SROs are employed by local police departments to work in schools to promote school safety and build stronger relationships between law enforcement, students and the local community. According to press accounts, one or more SROs working within the Roaring Fork School District have been directly collaborating with ICE. This collaboration threatens the sense of safety and security that students – whether documented or undocumented – have a right to feel in public school.
“All children, documented or otherwise, have a right to attend public school in this country," said ACLU Staff Attorney Rebecca T. Wallace. "When School Resource Officers participate in home raids with ICE that lead to the deportation of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends of students, undocumented students are understandably discouraged from attending school. These students may reasonably fear that the SRO will use his position to gather information that will lead to deportation of the students or their relatives. Yet, one or more SROs within the Roaring Fork School District have participated in exactly these kinds of raids that stoke these reasonable fears. This practice must end.”
According to the ACLU’s letter, federal law prohibits schools from erecting barriers that discourage undocumented children from attending public school. In Plyler v. Doe, decided in 1982, the United States Supreme Court held that undocumented children in this country have the same right to a public education as citizens and other legal residents. The Court reasoned that denying an education to undocumented children who may be in this country for the rest of their lives “den[ies] them the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose[s] any realistic possibility they will contribute to even the smallest way to the progress of our nation.”