Port City Notebook

News, views and random observations around Alexandria

Supporting Our Immigrant Students and Families

There is growing concern among Alexandria residents about the impact on ACPS students and families of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids this week across northern Virginia. This was a topic of a presentation by Dr. Julie Crawford, Chief of Student Services, at the School Board meeting on February 16. (More information and video from the meeting here.)

home_news_postitWhen Superintendent Crawley was asked at a meeting with Cora Kelly Elementary parents the following day what the school division is doing to respond, he explained that student support staff members—counselors, school nurses, social workers, psychologists and parent liaisons—are available to assist students and families. He also referred to the school board presentation, and reiterated that school officials never check students’ immigration status. As long as a student has proof of residency, the student is allowed to attend school.

Dr. Crawley added that no students have been removed from our schools to his knowledge, and that he has not been able to confirm information that has been circulating about two International Academy students at T.C. Williams having been questioned or detained this week.

While ACPS staff members are unable to provide legal assistance, ACPS is working with other agencies and community partners in Alexandria to assist families. And I’m proud to say that several PTAs have mobilized to reach out to immigrant families. The Mt. Vernon Community School PTA is hosting a “Know Your Rights” event on Thursday, February 23, at 7:00 p.m. at Grace Episcopal Church (3601 Russell Road).

The Cora Kelly and Charles Barrett Elementary PTAs are hosting a joint “Know Your Rights and Creating an Emergency Plan” seminar on Wednesday, March 8, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Charles Barrett Elementary School (1115 Martha Custis Drive). The program, in conjunction with the Tahirih Justice Center, will be in Spanish with English interpretation. There are also plans to hold a similar program at a school on the city’s west end. If you are wondering what you can do to help, your school’s PTA is a good place to start.

For further reading from the City of Alexandria, see Immigration Enforcement FAQs.

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Grace Episcopal Church invites the community to join them on a Walk in Love on Sunday, February 26. All are welcome to gather at the church (3601 Russell Road) at 10 a.m. for a clergy-led procession to Arlandria and Chirilagua, where participants will share coffee and bread at Tenants and Workers United (3801 Mt. Vernon Avenue). Contact Nancy Lorentz at nancylorentz@yahoo.com for more information.

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