Ypsi People Safeguarding Immigrants (Y.P.S.I.) to address the Ypsilanti School Board on Monday


This Monday evening at 6:30, a number of concerned Ypsilantians will be gathering at the Ypsilanti Community Schools Administration Building [1885 Packard] to demand that the Ypsilanti School Board take aggressive action in the face of recent executive actions targeting immigrants. Kira Berman, Natalie Holbrook and Liz Dahl MacGregor, three of the women behind this new grassroots organization, which calls itself Ypsi People Safeguarding Immigrants (Y.P.S.I.), issued the following list of policy changes that they would like to see implemented immediately. If these sound like things that you support, I’m sure they’d love to have you join them at 6:30.

We are parents, caregivers and stakeholders who are asking the school board to adopt policies and statements that actually make Ypsilanti Community Schools a welcoming community. We also ask the superintendent to provide leadership to enforce these policies and directives.

Specifically, we would like to see policies implemented that state that:

• YCS continues in our commitment and practice that a child’s immigration status will have no impact whatsoever on his or her education in YCS.

• Children have a constitutional right to equal access to education regardless of their immigration status or their parents’ status.

• The fundamental right to access public education is constitutionally protected, and cannot be taken away by the president or state or federal legislators.

• In YCS, we will not ask about a child’s immigration status at school. Public school districts have an obligation to enroll students regardless of their immigration status and without discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.

Discrete steps we immediately ask the district to take include:

• Amend the registration process for incoming YCS students so that the lack of a birth certificate or a visa will clearly not prevent or discourage any child from enrollment.

• Add the Washtenaw County ID to those forms of identification adults enrolling students in the district may provide, and ensure that it is both suggested and accepted.

• Ensure that the district is communicating to the entire YCS how the district and its schools are creating a safe, welcoming environment for all students. This includes notifying students and families about whom to contact if issues arise.

• Amend the Board’s non-discrimination and equal opportunity policies to include immigration status, and include language similar to the ordinances just adopted by the Ypsilanti City Council.

• We also ask the board and the administration to continue to be culturally aware and sensitive when implementing policies in our district. This includes being aware of how the dress codes adopted in schools might be discriminatory.

[For more information about Ypsi People Safeguarding Immigrants, and Monday evening’s meeting, click here.]

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  1. Liz DMG
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    If you can’t come but agree with the statement, please consider contacting the school matters and telling them you support it. The school board members can be reached at their email addresses: slee@ycschools.us, chawkins@ycschools.us, echampagne@ycschools.us, mschindler@ycschools.us, bmeadows@ycschools.us, msheleredwards@ycschools.us, sirvine@ycschools.us

  2. Liz DMG
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    I’d also like to point out that YCS Trustee Maria Sheler-Edwards said the Board’s Policy Subcommittee drafted a policy that is based on the National Education Association’s sample policy. Adopting the policy is not on the agenda for tonight’s meeting, but “Sanctuary School/Safe Zone District” is a discussion item. (And the packet materials aren’t posted on the website until after the meeting, so we don’t know what materials are included.)

    The NEA sample policy is here: http://educationvotes.nea.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/12.13.16-Sample-Board-Resolution-Immigration-Safety-FINAL.pdf

  3. Anonymous
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Liz, how does the draft policy compare to what your group is suggesting?

  4. Maria Sheler Edwards by proxy
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Maria Sheler Edwards had this to say on Facebook:

    I love our compassionate community! I’ve heard from a number of folks who shared their deep concerns for our students (and family members) with immigrant status. As a member of the policy subcommittee (along with Sharon Irvine), I am taking this very seriously. Our committee has prepared a policy based on a model from the NEA to bring to the full board for a first read tomorrow night. Unfortunately, for the second time in 4 years, I can’t attend the meeting (due to business travel out of state). However, I have no concerns that a resolution will pass. I will be there in spirit and will fully support the direction of our student-centric board!

  5. Kim
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Superintended Edmondson made a public comment about YCS’s dedication to immigrant students, did he not?

  6. Natalie Holbrook
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    We have not seen the draft resolution so are showing up to demonstrate support for a resolution that reflects the points outlined in Mark’s blog post above. If the resolution supports such points, great. If not, we are encouraging the board to adopt a resolution with the aforementioned. Further, we really want to make sure all written documents and enrollment processes are reflective of a welcoming climate. And, of course, we want to actively engage in making all of schools’ climates welcoming and inclusive.

  7. Kira Berman
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I just want to thank everyone who came out in support of a board resolution/policy changes regarding immigrant families. I know that our show of support was heard and that the school board feels empowered by the community to take strong action. I hope they do. Thanks for representing, Ypsilanti!

  8. Natalie Holbrook
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Ypsilanti, there are days I love you and one of them is today. Our school board passed a resolution of opposition to the appointment of Devos. Many long time and new Ypsilanti residents showed up and supported the development of what will be the passage of a safe school zone resolution which will uphold the right of access to education for all children, inhibits ICE’s and law enforcement’s access to schools, and promotes safe, inclusive, and rad as hell school climates for all kids and the adults connected to those kids. Our feet have to be on the ground. Protect our children every one. I am thankful. #NOMuslimban #resist #publicschoolsrock #fuckschoolofchoice

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