ETHS declared sanctuary school


Students demonstrate for immigrant rights

Sam Calian, News Editor

While deportation rates rapidly increase in the US, the resolution approved by ETHS District 202 officials last month to become a safe haven continues to protect undocumented students at ETHS.

“This sanctuary creates the most safe and welcoming environment for the undocumented community,” senior Cameron Guy said.

After Evanston declared itself a sanctuary city last November, Guy introduced the idea of ETHS following suit with the school’s DREAMers club, a group united in supporting DACA youth, undocumented students and allies. Their mission is to educate and support the Evanston community on the rights of the undocumented student immigrant community. This coalition of students and teachers encouraged Guy to deliver a speech to the school board in January.

“I noticed that the majority of participants at DREAMers meetings were allies rather than actual dreamers,” Guy said. “To me, that meant that students are still uncomfortable speaking up, so, when the opportunity came for me to raise my concerns in front of the school board, I took it.”

District 202 Board Member Jonathan Baum heard Guy’s request, driving him to draft a resolution. On Jan. 17, ETHS declared itself a safe haven, aiming to protect undocumented youth at ETHS under the fullest extent of the law.

“I’m undocumented, so I know what it feels like to be vulnerable and afraid, but I also know what it’s like to overcome those things,” Guy said.

With this new policy, ETHS prohibits the district, teachers, contractors and volunteers from inquiring about a student’s immigration status, and bans school officials from sharing information about a student’s and their family’s immigration status to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Also, the resolution bars ICE officials from barging into the school; they must first provide credentials and reason for investigation, and allow time for Superintendent Dr. Witherspoon to consult with legal counsel.

“We just want to make sure everybody is safe,” said Michelle Vazquez, head of the ETHS DREAMers club.

Declaring itself a sanctuary for undocumented youth is just another example of how ETHS and the Evanston community are uniting against calls for the deportation of immigrants.

People tend to assume that all illegal immigrants cross the border from Mexico, yet almost half of the undocumented immigrant community comes from other countries. This “safe haven” resolution protects all undocumented students, regardless of their origin.