Peoria Public Schools Considers 'Safe Haven' Policy to Protect Immigrant Students

Sep 25, 2017

Credit Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

The Peoria Public School board is expected to discuss a policy that would protect the children of undocumented immigrants enrolled in the district.

The so-called “Safe Haven” policy would include certain protections, like restricting Immigration and Customs Enforcement's ability to police on school district property and limit information gathering on family’s immigration status.

David del Pozo teaches English as a Second Language at Glen Oak Primary School. He says many students in his classroom are confronting anxiety that makes learning difficult, if not impossible.

“They are afraid that you know some day, somebody would come to school, and they could be deported, or something could happen to them," Del Pozo said. "They could be separated from their families…”

Del Pozo says that’s why the District needs to pass the resolution. So students can be assured that when they’re in school, they are safe.

He estimates there are about 600 students enrolled in the District 150 who would benefit from a Safe Haven policy.

Local immigrant rights advocates and bilingual instruction teachers are expected to rally before the regular meeting Monday night to support the measure.

School districts nationwide, including Chicago, have passed similar policies, amid growing concerns about federal immigration enforcement.