State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson honors Sacramento City Unified Safe Haven efforts
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today commended the Sacramento City Unified School District for its leadership in the movement for school districts to declare themselves as “Safe Havens” and urged other districts across the state to follow SCUSD’s example. He also said he would be borrowing ideas such as the district’s Know Your Rights and Pledge cards as tools for other districts to use.
“It’s critical in this climate that California schools reassure their students, parents, educators and local communities that schools welcome everyone regardless of immigration status,” Torlakson said. “Federal law requires schools to educate all children, even those who are undocumented.”
Torlakson visited Oak Ridge Elementary as the site to conduct a town hall with students and families about the Safe Haven issue and to present Board of Education First Vice President Jessie Ryan with a seal which recognized the district’s leadership.
In honoring the district, Torlakson noted that SCUSD has continued to promote tolerance and a welcoming environment while informing students and their families of their rights and legal protections against stepped-up federal immigration enforcement.
“We are proud to have him stand with us to ensure that all children feel welcome at every school—regardless of their immigration status. We stand together for the safety and protection of our families.”
To date, nearly 60 separate school district boards, representing a total of nearly two million students, have adopted Safe Haven or similar resolutions.
Last month, Torlakson reached out to the federal government to clarify whether it is changing a longstanding policy that had avoided immigration actions near schools. Torlakson has also filed a friend of the court brief in federal court supporting Santa Clara County’s request to stop an executive order by President Donald Trump that threatens to stop federal funding for California cities, counties and possibly public schools.