Shawnee Mission, KCK schools to immigrant families: Our doors will continue to be open

The Shawnee Mission School District announced Wednesday it would continue supporting students from DACA families.
The Shawnee Mission School District announced Wednesday it would continue supporting students from DACA families.

The Shawnee Mission School District and the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools said Wednesday that they will continue supporting students from immigrant families, despite recent vows by the Trump administration to end protections for such families.

“We recognize that the recent announcement to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) creates challenges for students and families we serve within the Shawnee Mission School District,” the district said in a statement on its Facebook page. “We will exhaust all of our dedicated internal and external resources to take care of families.”

The announcement was made one day after protesters gathered in Kansas City to speak out against the administration’s vows to end DACA.

The Barack Obama-era program has kept hundreds of thousands of people safe from deportation, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the executive order is unconstitutional.

Kansas City, Kan., district Superintendent Cynthia Lane posted a statement on the district’s blog expressing “deep sadness, and frankly disgust” at the DACA action.

“That in 2017 we are still acting in ways that target specific ethnic groups is almost more than I can bear,” Lane wrote.

“... Let’s be frank: Whether they were born here or brought here, our kids and their families are looking for many of the same things that each of us is pursuing. A quality life, filled with more moments of joy than sadness; a life filled with more opportunities than obstacles; and a life filled with more hope than despair. We are all ‘dreamers!’ 

The district values diversity, Lane wrote: “It does not matter to us in KCKPS if you were born here or brought here. You matter to us. We will do everything in our power to ensure you are safe, and that you receive a quality education. We will advocate for you and with you.”

Earlier this year, the Shawnee Mission School District adopted a resolution expressing its commitment to student rights and immigration issues after coming under fire for how it handled a deportation incident involving the family of a Briarwood Elementary School student.

In February, the school district let police take a Briarwood Elementary third-grader into custody because his mother was being detained by immigration agents. But the district reportedly did not attempt to contact the boy’s father or emergency contacts, the ACLU of Kansas would later maintain in a letter sent to the district.

The school board adopted the resolution in April.

The Star’s Toriano Porter contributed to this story.

Katy Bergen: 816-234-4120, @KatyBergen