Trump threatens to cut funds from sanctuary cities; Berkeley could lose $11.5M — Berkeleyside

Trump threatens to cut funds from sanctuary cities; Berkeley could lose $11.5M0By Frances DinkelspielJan. 25, 2017, 3:05 p.m.UC Berkeley students held a rally Dec. 9 to protest against threatened deportations. Photo: Anthony BertolliThe city of Berkeley could lose up to $11.5 million in federal funds if President Donald Trump goes through with his promise to punish sanctuary cities that refuse to comply with immigration law.Trump signed two executive orders on Wednesday dealing with immigration, including one to build a wall along the 2,000-mile-border between the U.S. and Mexico. Trump reiterated his promise that Mexico, not U.S. taxpayers, will pay for the wall even though the Mexican president has said his country will not pay a dime.Trump also promised to speed up the deportation of undocumented immigrants and punish those who interfered with the efforts.It’s unclear, however, just how bad the impact of the executive order will be for Berkeley and other sanctuary cities. The actual wording states that it is the policy of the executive branch to “ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with applicable Federal law do not receive Federal funds, except as mandated by law.” Which of Berkeley’s federal funds will qualify as “mandated by law” is an open question. Berkeley officials have been expecting an action that might threaten the money the city gets from the federal government. On Nov. 22, then Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín held a press conference to make clear that he and the City Council will ensure Berkeley remains a sanctuary city, offering protection to immigrants and undocumented residents. Numerous city and school district officials joined with him at the press conference and pledged their dedication to Berkeley’s sanctuary status.On Wednesday, Arreguín sent out two tweets addressing the issue.Late today, Arreguín issued a collective press release denouncing Trump’s actions with the mayors of Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose,“Our values of human rights, equity, and inclusion have come under attack by the Trump Administration,” Arreguín said in the statement. “In just two days, Trump has pushed a divisive wall, stripped our citizens of civil liberties, and cut funding to cities that have the courage to stand up for all people – whether or not they are legal citizens. We will not be intimidated by threats to cut funding to cities that believe in the fundamental notion that no person is illegal. No amount of federal funding is worth betraying our values.”Donald Evans, the superintendent of BUSD, sent out an email this afternoon reiterating the district’s committment to protecting students who are undocumented. “Dear Berkeley Unified School District Families,We want you to know that we are committed to protecting the right of every student to attend public school, regardless of immigration status of the student or of the student’s family members.On December 7, 2016, the Berkeley Unified School District Board of Education adopted an official policy that provides protections to immigrant families and affirms the right of undocumented children to a public education. This right has also been upheld by the United States Supreme Court in a case called Plyler v. Doe.On January 25, 2017, the Board will adopt a resolution that reiterates its position that all students have the right to attend our public schools, regardless of the immigration status or religious affiliation of the student or of the student’s family members.Because it is our duty and responsibility to provide each child in our District with a high-quality public education in a safe and nurturing environment, we have given these directions to the staff at our schools: Our staff will not request information or make a record of information on the immigration status of a student or family member. Furthermore, students and families will not be required to provide a social security number for school forms.If the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency asks for access to a school or for access to student information, they will be politely denied and referred directly to the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services who will refer the matter to the District’s legal counsel.Anyone in our schools seeking answers to questions about immigration will be referred to local non-profit immigration law organizations, such as the East Bay Community Law Center and the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant or other recommended resources available on the district website.Our immigrant families are not the only ones who are concerned about possible changes in federal policies. We want you to know that our district rejects all discrimination based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, disability and sexual orientation.The core values of our district continue to guide us through these times: Our students are our priority. We take pride in our diversity. We hold high expectations for ourse

Source: Trump threatens to cut funds from sanctuary cities; Berkeley could lose $11.5M — Berkeleyside

Oxford Elementary, Berkeley – Inauguration day 2017

From: Elizabeth Rhine
Date: Fri, Jan 20, 2017 at 3:30 PM
Subject: [Oxford e-list] Jan. 20, 2017

Dear Oxford Community,

This morning we had planned to have a Peace March around the neighborhood to show unity and community at Oxford Elementary.  Unfortunately, due to the weather, we had to cancel it.  I was able to visit several classrooms and saw some wonderful things happening related to Martin Luther King Jr. and the Inauguration.
– a class watching Martin and Me
– a class listening to “I Have a Dream” while they drew or wrote something related to the theme
– a class having a discussion about the Inauguration and our government system
– a class writing their own “I Have a Dream” speeches
This afternoon, a few classes decided to have a short Peace March, just to share their statements of Hope, Love, and Unity.  It was super cute!  (It started to rain, so we had to cut it a little short.)
I think a few classes want to hold another Peace March on Monday – your children are amazing!
Have a good weekend.

Beth Rhine, Principal
Oxford Elementary School

Berkeley USD Protection of Undocumented Students


New Board Policy on Undocumented Students
The Board unanimously approved a policy at its December 7, 2016 meeting to protect undocumented students. You can find the full policy here.
The Board also gave direction to District staff to circulate the policy widely, and develop a plan for training staff on implementation of the policy. The Board will receive an update on these efforts at its January 11 meeting, at which time the Board will also consider a Board Resolution that re-affirms the District’s commitment to protecting all students, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, or immigration status.

Pre-Inauguration, California Districts Declare Sanctuary Schools

Oakland Unified students speak at a board meeting calling for a strong sanctuary resolution.

Oakland Unified students speak at a board meeting calling for a strong sanctuary resolution. (Courtesy of Parents United for Public Schools)

At their neighborhood park in Oakland, Marina Morales and her five-year-old daughter, Ruby, look for water insects in the creek and then test the bells on a playground structure.

Ruby is a typical kindergartner: she’s curious about everything. After the election, Morales says her daughter had a lot of questions for her about whether President-elect Donald Trump could do anything to separate their family. Ruby was born here and is a U.S. citizen. But her mother is from Guatemala and has been living in California for nine years without immigration documents.

Morales says when she dropped her daughter off at school the day after the November election, it was clear a lot of families were worried, especially since the president-elect made promises to deport thousands of undocumented immigrants and ban some Muslims from entering the country.

Continue reading “Pre-Inauguration, California Districts Declare Sanctuary Schools”


December 21, 2016

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and Principals:


In this time of uncertainty, anxiety, and fear I strongly encourage you to join me in declaring our public schools “safe havens” for students and their parents and to remind families about existing laws that protect them and their students’ records from questions about immigration status.

Unfortunately, since the presidential election, reports of bullying, harassment, and intimidation of K-12 students based on immigration status, religious, or ethnic identification are on the rise.

As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, safety is my top priority. And my strongest commitment to you, your students and their families is that schools remain safe places to learn. California serves more than 6.2 million kindergarten through twelfth grade students with the most diverse population in the nation.

Parents should know they are welcome on our school campuses regardless of their immigration status. We encourage all parents and guardians to participate in their school communities and in the education of their children. Engaged parents play a key role in helping our students succeed. That is one reason encouraging parent engagement is a top priority for California schools and one of the key local indicators of success for our schools and districts.

The California Department of Education will continue to provide local educational agencies (LEAs) with guidelines about existing laws that protect student records, including:

  • The 1984 Supreme Court decision Plyler v. Doe requires schools to enroll all eligible children regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.
  • State and federal laws prohibit educational agencies from disclosing personally identifiable student information to law enforcement, without the consent of a parent or guardian, a court order or lawful subpoena, or in the case of a health emergency.
  • Districts must verify a student’s age and residency, but have flexibility in what documents or supporting papers they use. They do not have to use documents pertaining to immigration status.
  • To determine age, for example, an LEA can rely on a statement from a local registrar, baptismal records, or an affidavit from a parent guardian or custodian.
  • To determine residency, an LEA can rely on property tax receipts, pay stubs, or correspondence from a government agency.

Since LEAs do have wide discretion in what records they use, I strongly recommend that they do not collect or maintain documents related to immigration status.

Some California districts, such as the Los Angeles Unified School District and Sacramento Unified School District, have declared themselves to be “safe havens” to let their communities know they will maintain a welcoming environment for all students and parents. I support this message.

Here is an example of a resolution from the Sacramento City Unified School District

Together, we can make it clear we will do our best to make sure the prospect of the deportation of undocumented students and their families will not interfere with helping our students succeed.

Our schools are not and will not become an arm of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE). Instead, they will remain safe places for learning and teaching for all students, regardless of immigration status.

Please join me in spreading this message. We can and must support each other as California leads the way forward.


Tom Torlakson


Last Reviewed: Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Oxford Elementary, Berkeley

November 9, 2016

Dear Oxford Community,

I started this email this morning but have been struggling not only find the time to complete it, but to find the right words.  Now that there are emails coming from parents/guardians via the Oxford list, I’d like to share my thoughts and ask that we are careful how we move forward and also, how we use the Oxford email list.
The playground was buzzing this morning from the results of the presidential election. I overheard two 3rd grade boys discussing how a wall is going to be built between the US and Mexico.  Other students were yelling and shouting about the results.  I had one student talk about how his mother will be impacted if Obamacare is eliminated.  Buzzing is the right word to describe the feeling outside.  Once the students were in class, I made an announcement reminding them about the school guidelines (Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe, and Be An Ally) and how that should apply to everyone, not just our school, not just our families, not just our communities but to our newly elected leaders.  These are good rules to live by.  I also reminded the students that we are a community here at Oxford, a strong community, and that we need to take care of each other regardless of what is happening in our world.  Several teachers had class meetings to talk and debrief the election, too.  The focus was on creating a safe place to have an opinion, share concerns, and how we move forward.
I ask that we are sensitive to the impact on some of our families of the election outcome, and that there are many different opinions out there, and emotions are running high. I agree that we need to focus on our community, coming together and making it stronger.  We may need to provide opportunities for our students to share their thoughts and fears if needed, and every family handles that differently.  We need to respect that.  We are fortunate that we have a strong Oxford community and our amazing students and I am happy to be part of that community.  (Ooh, I love those kids, even when I’m fussin’ at them!)
If you are looking for resources to address the election with your child, here are some links that were shared with the teachers and across BUSD:
What came to me more clearly this morning than ever is that my goal, my vision as the school principal is to create and support a school that educates children to make thoughtful and informed decisions and life choices, gives them options, so they can create a strong community, for themselves and their community.
So, thank you for sharing your children with us.  Thank you for being thoughtful and committed to make Oxford a great place.  Thank you for all your support.
Beth Rhine

Longfellow, Berkeley

November 17, 2016

Sharing this event with all of you in the Cragmont community.  Cragmont and BUSD will remain safe spaces for all.



The BUSD Office of Family Engagement and Equity in collaboration with the East Bay Sanctuary Convenant and the East Bay Community Law Center are hosting a forum on immigration rights for our immigrant community.

There will be a presentation by immigration attorney Mark Silverman focusing on the constitutional rights of immigrants in the US. Afterward, participants at the forum will have the opportunity to meet with an immigration attorney or trained volunteer for a 15 minute consultation aimed at helping identify potential immigration remedies.

Below is background information about the presenter and community based organizations.

Mark Silverman is a Senior Staff Attorney based in San Francisco and has been with the ILRC since 1983. Mark has collaborated with immigrant-based community groups, especially those engaged in bringing about more just immigration policies, including family unity, legalization, TPS, NACARA, and drivers’ licenses. He has conducted over 400 presentations and trainings for immigrant communities throughout California and is frequently interviewed by Spanish media. Mark has also participated as a trainer on various aspects of the law to attorneys and other legal workers.

Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) 

The ILRC seeks to improve immigration law and policy, expand the capacity of legal service providers, and advance immigrant rights.

​The East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC) provides sanctuary–support, protection, and advocacy–to low-income and indigent refugees and immigrants. EBSC’s work primarily consists of two programs: the Refugee Rights Program and the Community Development and Education program. The goal of our educational programs is to educate our clients and to assist them in advocating for their own rights. Manuel De Paz, director of our Community Development and Education program (CDE), organizes leadership workshops, free informational workshops on a variety of topics, and provides referrals for housing, jobs and education.

EBCLC follows a Social Indicators of Justice framework that seeks to address the underlying causes of poverty and economic and racial inequality in order to increase justice and improve opportunities in the areas of economic security, educationhealth and welfarehousing, and immigration.

Carol Finis Perez

Family Engagement and Equity Specialist

Oxford and Washington Elementary Schools


We Are Here For You!

The mission of the Office of Family Engagement and Equity is rooted in the belief that family engagement is any way that an adult caregiver contributes to or supports a child’s learning. We build partnership between families, school staff, and community providers to promote successful outcomes for our students.

Berkeley Unified School District

November 9, 2016

Dear Berkeley Community,  <este mensaje se repite en español abajo>

First of all, we want to express our gratitude for the overwhelming support of Measure E1, the special tax that funds the Berkeley Schools Excellence Program, which passed with 88.3% of the vote, a record level of support. We are grateful to the legions of volunteers – parents, teachers, students, staff, alumni, friends and neighbors who helped create the measure and get the word out to the voters about this crucial support for our schools. To quote Ty Alper, our Board Vice President, Berkeley voters understand “that public education is the cornerstone of our democracy and our schools are the lifeblood of our community.” With the renewal of BSEP funding, Berkeley voters are investing in our children, our community, and the future of our nation.

Even as we celebrate this local success, as well as the passage of Proposition 55 which continues a crucial state source of education funding, these results come in the context of a national election with ramifications for how many of our children and families feel about their safety, well-being and future prospects. We’ve already heard from many in our community that they are experiencing sleepless nights, fearful children and parents, and a range of responses, from numbness to despondence or angry outbursts.

As educators, counselors, and community members, we need to support our children and each other through what may be a traumatic time for many, and in particular those who have felt targeted and marginalized by divisive rhetoric and actions during this election cycle – black families, immigrant families, Muslim families, women, ​the LGBTQ community, the disabled – the list goes on.

Conversations and actions are taking place today in our schools. At Berkeley High, there was a student gathering in the courtyard, including speeches and civil rights songs, and some students joined a walk-out to the UC campus, while others remained on campus in classroom discussions. Meanwhile, teachers across the district are sharing resources for holding age-appropriate discussions with students about the election, including The Day After, with reminders about the importance of reflection, respect, and civic engagement, and What Do We Tell the Children?, to reassure students that we will protect them, we will take care of each other, we will not tolerate bigotry, we will speak up for each other, and that all of us can contribute toward a more perfect union, a more just, inclusive, and caring society.

This kind of thoughtful reflection and action doesn’t just happen every four years; it is a constant element in our community and our schools. Each day our teachers and staff weave positive lessons of respect and inclusion in the academic discussions in order to help our children and youth make our schools welcoming communities that promote collaborative and critical thinking skills. A recent segment on HBO entitled Stand Up and Kneel, highlighting the Berkeley High School football team’s discussion of Kaepernick’s protest, is a good example of the thoughtfulness we see in our students every day. The team’s coach and the athletic director asked them to consider their actions before protesting, ensured they had researched and understood the issues and had worked together to ensure everyone has a voice. These are questions that underpin our constitutional democracy, and are essential to the way in which we will move forward, together.

In the words of John F. Kennedy, “Democracy is never a final achievement. It is a call to an untiring effort.”

With gratitude and respect,

Donald Evans, Ed.D


Berkeley Unified School District

BUSD moves to protect undocumented students
BUSD is engaged on several levels in addressing community concerns about the welfare of immigrant students and families in the wake of the Presidential election.

Several schools have provided opportunities for students to voice their concerns within and/or outside of regular classes. Last week, BUSD co-sponsored a forum on immigration rights with the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant and the East Bay Community Law Center that was held at Longfellow Middle School (photo above). The forum included a presentation on the constitutional rights of immigrants in the U.S. and access to a free consultation on possible immigration remedies.

The Dec. 7 Board of Education Meeting will include consideration of a new policy for “Protection of Undocumented Students,” which was discussed by the Board’s Policy Subcommittee on Nov. 18. The policy proposal will be available on the school board meeting web page this Friday evening (Dec. 2).
We will continue to inform concerned students and families about outside resources for further assistance, and work with community partners on potential future events, meetings and activities to ensure fairness and equal protection and support to all students.

In case you missed it, you can see here that Longfellow Middle School students and staff have taken a public stand in the name of social justice. Discarded campaign signs were turned inside out and re-used to show staff and student leaders sharing the powerful words of love, justice, peace, Black Lives Matter, and joy, among others. 

(November 28, 2016)