Madison school staff fields more questions about immigration

Madison school staff fields more questions about immigration

Madison Metropolitan School District teachers and staff have been dealing with more and more questions about immigration since the election, Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said.

The questions arose after multiple notable arrests of DREAMers, those who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Cheatham said most concerns come from students and families who wonder if classrooms are a safe place for undocumented children. She said MMSD is doing everything it can to make sure students are not targets for deportation while they are on school grounds.

“Every child is safe in our schools,” Cheatham said.

Cheatham said the district does not keep track of students’ immigration statuses and staff and teachers are bound by a policy not to collaborate with federal immigration officials without a subpoena or court order demanding they do so.

“We’ve actually never had an incident where an (immigration) officer has come to our school, but if it were to happen, we would never collaborate with them,” Cheatham said. “This is going to put a lot of our current policies to the test, and there’s a lot we don’t know. I mean, this is the tricky territory with families and students. We can’t allay all of their fears.”

Cheatham said the policies aren’t new, but have been gaining a lot of attention since the election of President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a platform of deporting undocumented immigrants.

The district has created an FAQ page to answer student and parent questions about immigration.