The removal of a student with active gang ties and suspected gang activity should be seen as a good thing, but one school district seems to think the opposite.
A student with suspected MS-13 affiliations was removed from a Long Island school and then deported by ICE. The removal began when a school official voiced concerns and suspicions about the student’s activities and affiliations with MS-13 gangs in the area. Despite the student’s removal, which was done to keep students and faculty safe, the school board now plans to dramatically reduce the number of active officers in local schools because it doesn’t like ICE involvement.
At a recent school board meeting, President Jennifer Hebert spoke about the danger of deportation to students who attend the school.
“We need clarity and guidelines, and if we can’t get those, I’m not comfortable having officers in our building going forward,” Hebert said, according to ProPublica. “And many of these trustees feel similarly.”
At the heart of this case is a student who is attending the school while seeking asylum in the United States. Referred to as “Alex”, the 19-year-old was a student at Huntington High School. During this time, he drew images from his native Honduras alongside the insignia of criminal gang MS-13, and engaged in various activities that lead a resource officer to be suspicious. Alex was deported to his home country of Honduras this summer.
The resource officer served in the school for 14 years, and was removed from the school after the incident. There is no indication yet of the date of return of the resource officer to the school or of his current status. The school board continues to argue for the removal of safety and resource officers — or the purging of disciplinary records for immigrant students.
Echoing Jennifer Hebert’s sentiments, other board members recommend expunging disciplinary details and records, including suspensions for students who are immigrants and who engage in criminal activity. This would also include activity that profoundly breaks school rules (incurring suspension or disciplinary action). Prior to sending student records to ICE, board member Xavier Palacios recommended purging them of all recorded wrongdoings, disciplinary actions, suspensions or expulsions.
“We must make a wrong right,” Palacios said. “If our district needs to create a new policy to prevent this from happening again, then we must do so.”
About 500 citizens showed up for the session, which covered not the risks of having MS-13 activity in the school, but the risks to those student gang members who are reported to ICE and consequentially deported. Conversations continue as the school works to bar resource officers from the site and protect troubled immigrant students from ICE.
~ Liberty Planet