In a unanimous vote Monday, the Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees voted to pass a resolution declaring the district's support of all students and to "create the safest possible environments for its students...regardless of immigration status."
The vote came after two hours of closed session discussion and after an update on the district by Superintendent Paul Cruz.
Cruz also held a press conference early afternoon Monday to discuss the current state of the district and their goals going forward with the immigrant community.
"I fully support our teachers, our principals and our staff members in creating safe learning environments for all of our students," Cruz said.
He also addressed parents directly and said that he understands their concerns and wants to help ease them.
"Look I get it," he said. "I have heard firsthand stories from teachers and students about some of their concerns and anxieties. I understand that and it's very real for them. And I want to make sure that our teachers and our community members know that we're here for them to support them in a positive learning environment."
Trustee Paul Saldaña read the text of the resolution to the board before the vote. After the vote, he told KVUE's Jason Puckett that the resolution is a message to parents and community members that AISD knows their fear and is on their side.
"Tonight's message from our Board and Superintendent is a step in the right direction,' he said. "We still have a lot of work to do to reassure our families that coming to school is safe."
Saldaña added that while he wished steps had been taken sooner. He believed the resolution was a sign of the board moving in the right direction.
"In retrospect, we probably could have done a lot better in the manner that we communicated to our students and our teachers...I'm still not satisfied, but I think that as a board we've made that clear."
The full text of the resolution can be read below:
WHEREAS, the Austin Independent School District is committed to ensuring that every student
develops the enduring knowledge, skills and character to thrive in a changing world; and,
WHEREAS, it is AISD’s commitment to our community that our schools will create a safe and
caring learning environment so as to foster a culture of trust and respect; and,
WHEREAS, AISD has demonstrated this commitment for years by investing in Social and
Emotional Learning strategies, No Place for Hate, campus-based behavioral health centers, and
other similar programs on our school campuses; and
WHEREAS, AISD’s Strategic Plan states that we hold as core beliefs that we will create a positive
organizational culture that values customer service and every employee; engage authentically
with students, parents/guardians, teachers, and community; develop and maintain community
partnerships; and that we value Whole Child, Every Child; physical, social and emotional health,
and safety; equity, diversity, and inclusion; and,
WHEREAS, AISD policy FFH (LOCAL), prohibits any acts of discrimination, including harassment,
based on race, color, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expressions, sexual
orientation, national origin, disability, age, or any other basis prohibited by law; and,
WHEREAS, under the 1982 United States Supreme Court ruling (Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202), all
children are entitled to a public education regardless of their immigration status or the status of
their parents; and,
WHEREAS, every student should go to school to safely learn and engage with their teachers and
WHEREAS, we want our community to feel that schools and classrooms are safe, welcoming
and inclusive places for all students and all families, regardless of their immigration status;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Austin Independent School District will strive to
create the safest possible environments for its students and employees, providing them the
foundation needed to learn, thrive, seek assistance and information, and reach each child’s
potential in an education-focused environment, free of insecurity and fear, for all its
employees, students and their families, regardless of immigration status.