“I’m being told that if I don’t keep my child at home or support the strike, I may be deported based on my citizenship status. Is that true?”
“No, absolutely not. The district is a safe place for all Fresno Unified students and their families. That does not change in the event of a strike. The district’s recent Safe Place Resolutions affirms that. The district will not facilitate or participate in any immigration activities at school sites or district facilities to the fullest extent allowed by law.”
The Fresno Teachers Association and Brooke Ashjian, the district’s board president, also shared their dismay on Twitter that someone possibly from Fresno Unified made such a statement to parents.
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FTA called for the resignation of any employee who made the suggestion to a parent, and Ashjian called it “wrong on ALL levels.”
The teachers union went on to accuse the district of using undocumented students as a “weapon” in the labor fight and tweeted “LEAVE OUR STUDENTS OUT OF IT.”
Superintendent Bob Nelson told KSEE 24 that the questions came from the community and weren’t aimed at anyone.
Jessica Peres Baird, a spokeswoman for the district, said the questions came directly from parents in various ways, including during Parent University sessions.
In a prerecorded video that was tweeted out after the strike vote, Nelson said “ … know that Fresno Unified schools will remain open everyday focused on providing a safe place for learning.” Videos with the same message were made in Spanish and Hmong, too.
Parents and community members expressed their outrage in the comments on the Fresno Teachers Association Facebook page.
One parent explained that parents are under the impression the government will take over school sites in the event of a strike, making them feel vulnerable.