The Tucson Unified School District is declaring itself an “immigrant destination district,” pledging to support students regardless of their immigration status.
The Governing Board unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday in support of National Educator’s Coming Out Day, which will be celebrated across the country on April 9.
TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez brought the resolution to the board for its approval. It acknowledges that TUSD serves numerous immigrant families and that district administration, teachers, counselors and staff workers “will support all students equally, whether documented or undocumented.”
It also calls for TUSD to help all students pursue a higher education.
The resolution came about after a meeting with former TUSD students who shared with Sanchez their interest in helping undocumented students get into higher education and identify scholarships and other resources. The students asked Sanchez to put a banner on the TUSD Web page that says the district is an “immigrant-friendly district.” Sanchez had no problem making such a declaration but also recommended that a resolution be brought to the board.
“I’m coming from a state where every public university in Texas was an undocumented-student-friendly institution where undocumented students were given in-state tuition,” Sanchez said.
Numerous former TUSD students, including Erick Aparicio, told the Governing Board they felt a lack of support in the district because of their immigration status.
When Aparicio’s teachers and advisors learned of his status, many didn’t know what to tell him when it came to college possibilities, he said.
“Consequently,I wouldn’t have the motivation to keep up in school,” Aparicio said. “I saw many of my classmates dropping out of school for the same reason.”
It wasn’t until Aparicio found the organization Scholarships A-Z that he was assisted in finding resources to enroll in school and financial support — information that would have been valuable while he was still in school, he said.
“That’s why I want to thank you for doing the right thing,” Aparicio said of the Governing Board’s action.
The National Educator’s Coming Out Day effort is being led by the Dream Educational Empowerment Program of United We Dream and Scholarships A-Z.