On January 6, the school board approved new Policy 4300 - Limiting Immigration Enforcement in Schools. Policy 4300 codifies practices already existing in Highline and is now required for all districts as mandated by last year's Senate Bill 5497, the Keep Washington Working Act.
In brief, the policy:
- Restates the important fact that we educate all students within our boundaries regardless of immigration status and that schools are not the place to engage in immigration enforcement activities;
- Denies access to district property to individual or groups wishing to engage in immigration enforcement, including immigration surveillance;
- Directs school or department staff to immediately notify the Superintendent's office (x3070) if:
- Someone requests information on the immigration status of any student, staff or family member; or
- Someone appears with a court order seeking immigration information; or
- Someone makes a request for other things, including reviewing files or speaking with a student.
- If any of the above happen, please stop, take a breath and let the person know that before you can release anything you will have to let the Superintendent and your school administrator or department head know about the request. You should not be bullied or intimidated into releasing information without approval from the Superintendent.
If you need to contact the Superintendent's office about one of these issues it is important to scan a copy of any paperwork the person is presenting, and if possible, a scan of the person's ID card or business card—this will assist in determining whether the request is valid.
Just as we do not collect immigration information or ask about immigration status, it is important to remember that it is also inappropriate to speculate about anyone's status—student, parent/guardian or staff—or to discuss the status of any member of the Highline community with anyone—whether fellow Highline employees or others.
Highline has not had a problem with immigration enforcement in our schools in the past, and we hope that continues. However, we do now have this new policy in place should you need it. You can always find the policy online, or you can print it off and keep it if you feel you will need it. If you have any questions about this new policy, or if you'd like to discuss this process, please contact Holly Ferguson, Lolita O'Donnell or Isuzu Arambula.