US Border Patrol Agents Blocked From Entering Schools for Fear of Traumatizing Immigrant Students

( — In a unanimous vote last Wednesday, the Spokane School Board updated district policy to prevent members of the US Border Patrol from setting foot on any campus for any reason, the Spokane Spokesman-Review reported.

According to School Board President Nikki Otero Lockwood, the updated policy would clarify that immigration officials would not be permitted to enter a school campus without the approval of the superintendent.

The board updated the policy in response to discussions with Latinos En Spokane, a local Latino advocacy group that has been seeking such a change since 2018.

Jennyfer Mesa, the executive director of the group, claimed that immigrant students could be traumatized if they saw a Border Patrol officer on campus.

It is against Department of Homeland Security regulations for officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the US Border Patrol to conduct enforcement actions at schools. Schools and school bus stops are among DHS’s “protected areas.”

The Spokane School Board’s revised policy takes things even further, preventing immigration officials from even coming to school to speak to a class.

School Board President Lockwood said any teacher who would request having a Border Patrol agent speak to a class would be told that school policy is, “We don’t have Border Patrol in our schools,” and the answer would be, “No.”

Former US Attorney Jim McDevitt expressed qualms about the district’s policy. He told the Spokesman-Review that presentations from immigration agents or law enforcement are not only educational but could also help to deter crime among children.

In a statement last Thursday, the US Border Patrol Spokane Sector voiced opposition to the School Board’s decision, arguing that allowing Border Patrol agents to speak to classrooms is a way to enhance safety, KHQ reported.

A spokesperson for the Spokane Sector said when Border Patrol agents attend school events, it is “not to conduct immigration enforcement activities,” but “at the invitation of the school” for “educational purposes” only.

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