San Benito schools take up undocumented student issue

SAN BENITO — The school district will be deciding on whether to support a resolution on undocumented students.

Superintendent Dr. Adrian Vega this past week presented the resolution to the board that, if approved in two weeks, would support undocumented students.

In light of national sentiment on the issue, Vega brought it up to the board.

“It also impacts what is going on in the state of Texas,” he said.

During last week’s curriculum meeting, Vega brought the resolution to the board not for approval but for presentation.

Board members are expected to vote on the resolution in about two weeks.

The resolution includes language stating the district is committed to fostering a culture of trust and respect for all students and their families.

The resolution, which Vega modeled after the district’s values and goals, maintains that all students will be supported to allow them pursue their passion upon graduation.

“We want our community to feel that SBCISD schools and classrooms are safe, welcoming and inclusive places for all students and all families, regardless of their immigration status,” the resolution states.

Several other Texas school districts, including Houston, Austin and San Antonio, have approved similar resolutions.

The resolution stems from the 1982 Supreme Court ruling in Plyler v. Doe, a landmark decision holding that states cannot constitutionally deny students a free public education on account of their immigration status.

By a 5-4 vote, the high court found that any resources which might be saved from excluding undocumented children from public schools were far outweighed by the harms imposed on society at large from denying them an education.

For more than 30 years, Plyler has ensured equal access to education for children regardless of status, but proponents of the ruling say anti-immigrant sentiment continues to threaten that right.

States and localities have passed measures and adopted unofficial policies that violate the spirit — if not the letter — of the court’s decision, proponents say.

Soon, Texas will make its own decision on the matter.

“I feel that it is important that we reassure our community that we are here for them,” Vega said. “All kids that cross our threshold should have access to the best education possible.”