“In the treatment of the child the world foreshadows its own future and faith. All words and all thinking lead to the child—to that vast immortality and wide sweep of infinite possibility which the child represents.” —W.E.B. DuBois
As educators, we must speak out against the horrendous treatment of children and families taking place at the US/Mexico border. Since April 19, and continuing today, upon crossing the US border over 2,000 children have been traumatically separated from their parents and families. This unconscionable action is a result of a “zero-tolerance” policy enforced by the current administration, which refers all border crossings for federal criminal prosecution. While parents await trial, children are being held in temporary facilities which are run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. A number of these facilities are former prisons, which means children are living in cages on American soil.
The Trump administration is violating everything we know about how to work with families. As our Declaration of Independence noted, All people are “created equal. They are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. Among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Whatever your party affiliation or not, it is time for Americans to unite and insist that these rights be carried out. We have read about and watched atrocities committed, in other countries and sadly, in this country. We will not accept anything less than policies that begin with the unalienable rights of
all. Millions of families choose us to educate their children and we do not take the sanctity and safety of any family for granted. Educators know that far more is accomplished when we work closely with families. In knowing that young people gain when their families are treated as partners—everyone gains when families and children are treated with respect. Whether in district or chartered public schools, we must unite with others who support respect and honorable treatment for families and their children. Therefore, we urge—we demand—that our elected officials return to the central principles of American democracy which the country’s founders insisted were self-evident. They must unite and pass legislation to correct these wrongs.
The authors wrote this statement on behalf of the recently created, Coalition of Public Independent Charter Schools.
Steven Zimmerman is founder of the Coalition of Public Independent Charter Schools (CPICS).
Learn more about the CPICS virtual conference at http://bit.ly/2x9I93k. The event will be live-streamed on the CPICS Facebook page from 4pm-7pm ET at http://www.facebook.com/cpicschools.