COOS COUNTY – Children brought to the United States illegally were plunged into the fear of the unknown last week when President Donald Trump made a move to deport them.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has almost 800,000 people in the program, who only qualify after being thoroughly vetted for any criminal history or threat to national security. They also range from ages 15 to 36, are students or completed school or military service.
Oregon's Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor condemned efforts to send children back to countries they don't remember, citing that any student deserves to be educated in a stable and secure environment.
“We issued a press release supporting Governor Brown's position on this,” Noor said in an interview with The World last week. “Those students are Oregon students and many haven't experienced any other place but the United States. They should have stability not disruption in their lives. We should honor their contributions to our state and nation-wide.”
In terms of schools, Noor believes they should maintain a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students and continue to serve every student that walks into any Oregon school.
“This should not impact what we do as far as supporting our students and their families,” Noor said. “It's important to note that many of those kids are part of our state and our country. They deserve to be safe and have stability and not have it disrupted constantly.”
However, the North Bend School District's high school Principal Bill Lucero summed the issue up with one sentence: “Every person who walks through the doors of the North Bend High School will be treated with respect.”
“It's our number one rule,” he said. “We will educate everyone to the best of our ability. None of the other stuff matters. Battles can be fought out there, but in here we educate.”
Over at the Coos Bay School District, Marshfield High School principal Travis Howard avoided making any direct comments for or against moves to end DACA.
“I think it's best not to make a political stance in public education,” he said. “Congress has six months to act on it. As of now, we will cross the bridge when we come ot it. Obviously we want to make sure all of our kids are safe in school. If something comes up, we will do our best to keep our kids safe and gie them the best education possible.”
At Marshfield, nearly 18 percent of its student body are minorities. According to The Guardian, most Dreamers come from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
“How many of our students might be affected by this is hard to say,” Howard said. “I imagine a small percentage, but we want to make sure they are treated fairly and equally.
“I don't see a big deal. Whether we like it or not, we follow the law.”
Coos Bay School District Superintendent Bryan Trendell echoed Noor's comments that students need a safe and respectful place to go to school.
“It won't affect how we do business at this time,” Trendell said. “Our kids, especially locally, are what I'm concerned with. Our kids are going to be in an environment that honors them and provides a safe place to go to school. Having studied what's going on with DACA and reading the news reports, it looks like the president has thrown things into the lap of the House of Representatives and the Senate to work this out and they will come up with a solution. I hope it won't affect kids.”
The World is seeking any local Dreamers. If you are in the program and are willing to share your story, please contact reporter Jillian Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.