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Sanctuary in schools

Many schools across the country are taking steps to promote safe, welcoming environments for all students and their families. 

Educators, staff, schools boards, families, and students can create sanctuary in schools in a number of ways, from implementing nondiscrimination policies and practices to adopting protections for immigrant students.

Here are some ways your school can take action.

1. Learn more about the challenges facing immigrant students.

Explores these guides for educators and school staff, which offer tools to protect and prepare families in case of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid. 

"Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff," National Immigration Law Center
"Ensuring Every Undocumented Student Succeeds: A Report on Access to Public Education for Undocumented Students," Georgetown Law Human Rights Institute Fact-Finding Project


2. Display posters to show your school's support for all students.

Print and display these "We all belong here" posters (available for free download) in your school to send a clear message: All students are welcome.  

Use these posters alongside our crowd-sourced K-12 discussion and activities guide, which helps students explore and address issues related to racism and discrimination in their everyday lives.


3. Join our webinar: Countering Islamophobia in classrooms and schools (Sept. 26)

As educators, youth workers, and community members for social justice, we have a responsibility to actively confront and dismantle Islamophobia in our classrooms and schools. Join our interactive webinar on Sept. 26 that will introduce you to two innovative curricula: 

  • Challenge Islamophobia, a project of Teaching for Change 
  • Countering Anti-Muslim Racism in Schools, a project of American Friends Service Committee and the University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Education 

Our curriculum, situated within a racial justice framework, will help your students understand the roots and impacts of anti-Muslim racism, unpack dominant narratives, and develop skills to speak out against Islamophobia.


4. Urge your school board to pass a "campus safe zone" resolution.

Help immigrant students and their families feel safe on campus, and send a clear message that they belong in the school community. 

Read this AFSC blog post, which offers key lessons from successful organizing and advocacy efforts in Florida to protect students from immigration raids.  

Check out this resource from the National Immigration Law Center, which has developed policy language for K-12 school districts that are contemplating adopting protections for their immigrant students. Protections include limiting the sharing of student and family information with federal immigration authorities and restricting immigration agents' access to campuses.

The National Education Association also offers a sample school board resolution to create safe zones in your district and answers frequently asked questions from educators. 

Visit the Alto Trump campaign to see how other schools in California and Oregon have acted to establish themselves as safe spaces.