At Chicago Public Schools, we believe every student deserves to feel welcome, safe and valued. Reaffirming this commitment is more necessary than ever, given recent events.
Chicago is a sanctuary city, and that means that every child, regardless of race, ethnicity, or national origin is treated with dignity and respect from the moment they enter our schools. It means that we value the diversity each student brings to our District, and that we believe in their absolute right to a world-class education. Mayor Emanuel has reiterated that our city will remain a sanctuary city, and that it will continue to protect the rights of all immigrants, as well as continue to grant all residents access to city services, regardless of their immigration status.
Similarly, Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance helps ensure that undocumented residents are not prosecuted solely due to their immigration status. Sanctuary City protection covers Chicagoans of all ages – in school, at work and as they seek city supports and resources. Chicago police officers cannot make arrests on the basis of immigration status or cooperate with federal authorities on detaining individuals based solely on their immigration status.
We know that the steps our government has taken in the past few days will be unsettling for many CPS families, especially those from outside the United States. We want to help ease those fears so that families feel safe and children remain in school where they belong. This means providing both resources and reassurance, and as a district, we have been working with our schools to take these steps.
The Board of Education passed a Welcoming Resolution at its December meeting, affirming these commitments. You can read this resolution here. In addition, CPS has held several forums to answer questions of students who have deferred immigration action, and are commonly known as DREAMers. This weekend, Sullivan High School hosted an informational event geared toward immigrant and refugee families. Besides helping these families understand their rights under U.S. law, and explaining how recent decisions by the government could affect them, this event was a symbol of support and inclusiveness within CPS. We applaud the school leaders and elected officials who sponsored this gathering, and have no doubt that similar events will be organized at schools throughout our District. Your school will keep you informed about additional opportunities that they will host.
In addition to helping parents and guardians understand their rights, CPS is committed to helping students work through feelings that can range from fear and anxiety to anger and confusion. We have provided principals, teachers and counselors with resources to help students. If you have any specific concerns about your child’s reaction to recent events, we urge you to inform your teacher or principal.
CPS’ goal is to provide ALL CHILDREN with safe, engaging learning environments that prepare them for success. We pledge to continue doing all we can to make every child feel valued and welcome so that they can thrive academically, socially and emotionally, and so that they will be a generation that moves our society toward justice, promotes tolerance and embraces the diversity that makes us strong.
Forrest Claypool Dr. Janice K. Jackson
Chief Executive Officer Chief Education Officer
This letter is also available in Spanish, Chinese, Polish, Arabic, Urdu, and Vietnamese.