The Los Angeles Unified School District — the nation’s second largest public school system — is about 75 percent Latino. That helps explain why a month after Donald Trump won the presidential election, many students are still frightened by the incendiary statements he made about illegal immigration and Hispanics during the campaign — and why district officials are taking steps to help them.
This story in the Los Angeles Times reports that the district has started a support hotline and opened extended support sites, which was detailed in a recorded call — in English and Spanish — to teachers and parents from Superintendent Michelle King. She said students could get “emotional support” for any concerns they have about the impact on their families of potential Trump-ordered anti-immigration actions. The district has also provided a list of resources for educators and parents who want to talk to young people about these issues.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly expressed anti-immigrant sentiment, promised to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, labeled Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals” and said he would force all undocumented immigrants to leave the country.
He also suggested that a U.S. District Court judge who was born in Indiana to Mexican immigrants couldn’t be fair in a hearing of a class-action suit against Trump over Trump University.
California officials have gone out of their way to attempt to reassure students that they are safe. Shortly after the election, the Los Angeles Board of Education approved a resolution upholding its policy that federal immigration agents cannot enter a school campus without permission.
And California’s state superintendent of education, Tom Torlakson, issued a statement last month telling all 6.2 million public school students that they are safe from discrimination at school — and he made a point of telling “young women and girls that they will always be safe, be respected and be protected at school.”