DeKalb school chief: We support our students who are immigrants

Students at DeKalb’s International Community School, many of whom are immigrants and refugees, arrived today to a sea of signs of support from the surrounding Medlock neighborhood. A public charter school, ICS has more than 400 students representing more than 30 nationalities and speaking 25 languages. (ICS Facebook)

Steve Green leads one of the most diverse school districts in the state, the DeKalb County School District. The district educates large numbers of immigrant and refugee students. In a statement today, Green says supporting those students is a core belief of the system.

DeKalb had a recent high-profile incident that raised concerns about how deep that belief ran. As the AJC’s Marlon Walker reported, two DeKalb County teachers resigned after making disparaging statements about illegal immigration. Both resignations at Cross Keys High School were “in lieu of termination,” according to the AJC story.

Signs created by neighbors in the Medlock area of DeKalb sought to reassure student at ICS that they were supported.

Signs created by neighbors in the Medlock area of DeKalb and set up outside ICS ought to reassure students they were supported.

At Cross Keys High, 86 percent of the students are Hispanic or Latino. In November, state officials announced  the school had the third-largest graduation rate increase between 2015 and 2016.

In response to this weekend’s presidential decree barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for  90 days and suspending entry of all refugees for 120 days, Green released this statement:

We are hearing a lot of conversation right now … some of it extreme … about how residents originally from outside our country should be treated. As your leader, I want to make sure all our principals and teachers clearly understand the position of the DeKalb County School District on this issue.

We have 102,000 students here. They come from more than 180 countries, and they speak 140 languages. We value them, we love them, and we respect what their presence here says about the goodness and generosity of America.  Our diversity is our strength.

I want to assure each of our students that we have a deep and full commitment to be culturally responsive to them. We strongly support the diversity of our school system, and we greatly value our role in supporting our immigrant population through the benefits of quality education.  This is a core belief.

Our schools will be safe places for learning and teaching. In accordance with our Board of Education policies, we will not tolerate any form of bullying or discrimination … on or off district property … that interferes with learning or the rights of others.

Imagine how hard it is to come to a new country and start life over without familiar ties to family, culture, or language. DeKalb schools give an anchor to our new citizens. Our role as school leaders is to help learning in our schools to become love … love for a new place, for our way of life and, ultimately, for one another.

 

 

 

Reader Comments 0

27 comments
Tcope
Tcope

I really wish we could get the US supreme court to take another look at the ruling that allowed illegal aliens admission to our public schools. I don't see any logic in allowing people in our country illegally to have access to the economic resources that fund our schools.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Dr. Green, I hope that you will keep to your planned course in spite of critics. You are on the right track toward improving public schools in Georgia.

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

Only in America can a school superintendent who attempts to give assurances to all students, especially those who are immigrants and refugees, that schools can be an environment of support and a safe place to learn,  that detractors feel obligated to spew their venom.  The followers of DSW2 unfortunately changed the landscape of social media in metro Atlanta to where reasonable dialogue is shunned.  Unfortunately we are seeing similar behavior from our current president.  Wonder where the DSW2 gang got their ideas?

Shannon Norfleet
Shannon Norfleet

Translation: I have nothing of substance to add, but I would like to gain political favor, so...

Kirk Lunde
Kirk Lunde

I wish the DeKalb County School District supported students with disabilities.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Hang tough and stay your steady course, Dr. Green. You are obviously a spiritually and intellectually evolved person. Expect resistance, but God has given you a wonderful opportunity to model great things in public education for our state and nation,

through your love and commitment to people and to education.

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

Is Green proposing DCSS as a "sanctuary" school system? He has no legal authority to do what he proposes.

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@BurroughstonBroch

I understand he is giving assurances to the many immigrants and refugees in DeKalb so that they don't have to be fearful of xenophobes like you.

class80olddog
class80olddog

What could the class sizes be if schools did not have to spend boatloads on English classes for non-speakers?  Of course, this is assuming that any money saved would not just go to administrators.

class80olddog
class80olddog

The media is being very coy with their "facts".  They report that no American has been KILLED by a citizen of the banned countries.  No, but it is not from a lack of trying.  The 2016 attack at Ohio State was carried out by a Somali immigrant - luckily he did not kill anyone.  He did run them over and stab them, though.  Even Politifact rates a statement as "half true" because it does not mention that there were terroristic attacks, just not deaths.

class80olddog
class80olddog

If he is going to support illegal immigrants and non-English-speaking children of illegal immigrants, then he should not ask for any more money, since he has plenty to spend on ESL classes.  Another Federal unfunded mandate - don't enforce immigration laws, but then require schools to spend whatever to educate children who do not speak our language.

Astropig
Astropig

The most dangerous place in America to be is not near a mosque,or on I-285 at rush hour or even a gang infested inner city...Nope,it's between Steve Green and a media member that can help him cynically exploit the day's headlines.


Why doesn't he buy out Ringling Brothers if he needs constant attention? They're going out of business.

tinala
tinala

I'm wondering why he didn't place a ban on Saudi Arabian? Oh, I forgot he does business with them even though 15 of them were responsible for 9/11. Drumpf is an idiot and what he did was unconstitutional and that's why the judge through it out.

Our porous borders
Our porous borders

Partisan types will use the President's emergency measures for political grandstanding, but thank God the President has quickly followed through on his campaign promise to more thoroughly vet those coming to our country.

And understand this:

1) The ban is temporary, despite what the media are implying.

2) It doesn't affect 87% of the world's Muslims, despite what the media are implying.

3) The largest Muslim countries aren't affected. Only those with active Islamist insurgencies.

4) Only 109 people were detained at American airports in the past few days, and all cases have since been resolved.

5) Announcing the temporary ban IN ADVANCE would obviously only have tipped off any terrorists.

We all hope for the safest possible learning environment.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

The point is not the numbers affected but the fact that this generic and unconstitutional ban was implemented at all in America, "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

Angie Baucom Powell
Angie Baucom Powell

And so do I who voted for President Trump! And I still support his ban as well! You can do both!

Casey Sharp
Casey Sharp

Angie, I worked in refugee resettlement and everything you heard about how bad the ban was- it is worse. It is UnAmerican and illegal. Full stop. Now many of my friends are going to be out of a job, and families will die because of this. He destroyed our refugee system, which good people spent decades building into the best in the world. It made America great.

Kathryn Antman
Kathryn Antman

How? The ban includes people who followed all the rules and are now stranded away from home. I don't understand.

Angie Baucom Powell
Angie Baucom Powell

Kathryn Antman because it is my belief that while this was certainly a botched execution of the ban, and most definitely very unfortunate and unfair to people who were detained who shouldn't have been...its "billing" by the media has been biased, inaccurate and has fueled the fire. It is exaggerated to the point of being unconstitutional and racist. That's wrong. I believe this was just one more thing for the losers of the election to jump on to undermine President Trump's policies. I believe this also because of the stark differences in these same people's behaviors when the same thing was done by Obama. Days before he left the presidency, President Obama banned (ended wet foot dry foot policy) Cuban Refugees from our country and NO ONE protested or cried for these people who we know are fleeing a dictatorship. They can no longer stay in our country unless they have a visa...do you think Cuba will give them a visa to travel and stay in the U.S.? If encountered in route here, they will be returned to Cuba. If they arrive here, they will be returned to Cuba. Thus, this leads me to the conclusion, that just like during the campaign, this outcry/outrage is more of a reach to lash out at the new administration, not truly about deep care and concern about Muslims or refugees being turned away from the U.S. I truly feel it's an agenda for the ones who lost the election and are so upset about it. They have "used" the unfortunate circumstance of the good people, who were temporarily detained, to cry out loudly one more time! And all the while they do this, they interrupt thousands others lives... they DETAIN people from reaching their flights! I would bet that many more people were "detained" by protesters than actually detained by the government this weekend, and I suppose no one objects to that bad behavior or is crying out for those people who missed their flight because some people were throwing temper tantrums for the media.

Kathryn Antman
Kathryn Antman

Angie, there was no botched implementation. The White House wrote it just the way they wanted it. When Obama ended wet foot dry foot he didn't take away Cuban's ability to apply for asylum in the US, only their privileged automatic acceptance. Any Cuban who is intercepted here or on their way here can still apply. Also, at least here in Atlanta, the protest was careful not to block entrance or exit to the airport. There were plenty of people to have done it, but that was not the goal and wouldn't have helped our cause.

Angie Baucom Powell
Angie Baucom Powell

Casey Sharp it isn't illegal. It's not a right to call me to America!!! It's the American citizens who are protected by the Constitution. It's illegal? That's another lie told over and over again until some believe it. And UnAmerican? Its my belief, It's pro American to make sure you are protecting American people first and then As we've always done (when everyone is properly vetted)... (Lest we forget about all of the terrorist acts committed all over the world) (No not just by people in these countries)...We Do our part and help everyone. But... We should NOT accept those whose ideology is gravely opposite ours... Those who want us dead! And those people exist and it's foolish to try and act like there's not people on this planet that want "death to America." They've chanted that in their streets for decades. And as vocal as you are about Trump's orders... Where was your voice and the thousands others when these families were dying in the streets of Aleppo because our Commander and Chief wouldn't act? Were you at the White House marching and protesting while the millions were slaughtered? For me, It's just so hypocritical for so many to lash out with such a vengeance now. That's where I have a huge problem even believing anything those who are protesting say about this. They have no "work" prior to President Trump's taking office showing they are the people have on display in the streets now. I'm sorry! But actions ... Rather no actions... Prior to Trump... Speak louder than all of the shouting, fussing and cursing they're doing in the streets now. I truly believe this chaos has much to do about the devastating loss suffered...Lost the White House, Senate, and the House of Representatives. That was a blow and life as they thought they knew it. Of course, you have a view and I have a view... We differ. I'm ok with that. We are America!!

Angie Baucom Powell
Angie Baucom Powell

Kathryn Antman it was botched. Too much, Too fast and he had very few of the people who had to enforce this instructed on it. Very sad it had to happen chaotically as it did. It's like me, I'm a teacher, I instruct then I test. He didn't Instruct. He just slapped the test down; thus, issues to people who did nothing wrong. That's a shame, but it's done, everybody is fine and hopefully the administration has seen their errors and will correct them. The way it was written? I think that's probably more clear now to everyone... We can hope for that so we can all be protected as foreigners are vetted and extremely vetted before entering our country. On the Cuban refugees... Apply for asylum to United Staes while in Cuba? Do you think Cuba will allow that? I have t researched asylum process, so I don't claim to know it works. Just seems like it would be futile to ask for from Cuba.??? I do know that Cuba has recently lightened restricted travel policies. However, it's also been said that it's easier for certain people than others there to do this and that there are many stipulations placed on those who do travel outside of Cuba. Therefore, you still have people trying to escape Cuba. It's those people who are effected by the policy ended by Obama... And why if they aren't allowed to leave, would they be able to apply for asylum and expect that the Cuban gov't would be ok with it? Just pointing this out because a refugee is a refugee no matter where they live... And if people are going to take to the streets to protest against the administration for not letting refugees enter the U.S. I just don't understand why Obama's order wasn't a point of contention for the same people protesting at the airports this weekend? I'm happy to hear the people protesting in Atlanta... Capital city of our home state... \U0001f600 I love Atlanta!! ...Had sense not to hinder and disrupt the lives of people in the airport. Or maybe there's great management at the airport too, Being it's such a busy place, it would be absolutely incompetent of the airport management to allow such disruptions to people who were no part of anything. These other cities should be ashamed for allowing such to happen to customers!!