Piscataway Board of Education Affirms Commitment to Educate All Children
Piscataway Board of Education Affirms Commitment to Educate All Children
Posted on 01/30/2017

At its meeting on Thursday, January 26th, the Piscataway Township Board of Education unanimously adopted a resolution affirming the district’s commitment to educate all children, “regardless of ethnicity, race or immigration status, and free from harassment or intimidation, for so long as they may reside in Piscataway.”

The resolution states that the Board has “taken note of recent political rhetoric targeting undocumented residents and various immigrant and religious populations in our country,” and upholds the rights of all public school students, and the district’s obligation to ensure student safety and to protect student confidentiality and private information.

“Piscataway is a District that is proud to celebrate its cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, and it is important that all of our students and families know that they are welcome, and safe, in our schools,” said Board President Bill Irwin. “It is also important that everyone know that the laws of the State of New Jersey, and current Federal ICE practice, provide robust protections for the education and safety of our students, in addition to protecting student confidentiality and students’ private information regardless of ethnicity, religion, race, or immigration status. We strongly support these protections, and will oppose any attempts to weaken them.”

In the resolution, the Board “acknowledges the mission of law enforcement agencies charged with enforcing our Nation's immigration laws,” but makes clear that it “views its own role as assuring the education of all school-age children for so long as they may reside in Piscataway, not as an agent of law enforcement.”

Superintendent of Schools Teresa Rafferty noted that, “This resolution and the recent Executive Order do not change any current practices in the district; New Jersey law mandates that we educate any student living in Piscataway. The Board of Education is affirming our belief in, and our commitment to, educating all children.”

The resolution further stated that “in keeping with this commitment, the Board's General Counsel shall advise the Administration regarding the limits of the district's obligation to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, and that the Administration shall refrain from voluntary cooperation beyond those limits.”                                                
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Resolution Affirming Our Commitment To Educate All Children

WHEREAS, the Piscataway Township Board of Education recognizes and celebrates the unique ethnic, racial and cultural diversity of our school district; and

WHEREAS, the Board has taken note of recent political rhetoric targeting undocumented residents and various immigrant and religious populations in our country; and

WHEREAS, the Board desires to assure all Piscataway residents of the district's commitment to educating all school-age children who live in the district, as required by law, and

WHEREAS U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy characterizes public schools as “sensitive locations,” places where, in the normal course, enforcement actions should not occur,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that while the Board acknowledges the mission of law enforcement agencies charged with enforcing our Nation's immigration laws, it views its own role as assuring the education of all school-age children for so long as they may reside in Piscataway, not as an agent of law enforcement; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board reaffirms its commitment to equal opportunity for all school-age students residing in Piscataway to attend, and to enjoy all opportunities and benefits available in, the schools of our district, regardless of ethnicity, race or immigration status, and free from harassment or intimidation, for so long as they may reside in Piscataway; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board will protect student confidentiality and will not share private information unless required by law or a court order, and we expect all persons employed by the Piscataway Schools to protect student privacy and confidentiality, as well; and

 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that, in keeping with this commitment, the Board's General Counsel shall advise the Administration regarding the limits of the district's obligation to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, and that the Administration shall refrain from voluntary cooperation beyond those limits.

Adopted Unanimously

Piscataway Township Board of Education

1/26/2017