Green said he wanted to “make sure all our principals and teachers clearly understand” the district’s position, specifically regarding immigrants and refugees.
“We are hearing a lot of conversation right now, some of it extreme, about how residents originally from outside our country should be treated,” Green said. “We have 102,000 students here. They come from more than 180 countries, and they speak 140 languages. We value them; we love them and we respect what their presence here says about the goodness and generosity of America—our diversity is our strength.”
DCSD came under statewide scrutiny in November when two teachers were removed from Cross Keys High School for alleged anti-immigration remarks.
Cross Keys High School’s student body is, according to DCSD data, 80 percent Hispanic or Latino, 11 percent Black, 6 percent Asian, 1 percent White, and 1 percent other races.
In January, a Cary Reynolds Elementary school nurse was investigated for alleged anti-immigration remarks on social media.
Cary Reynolds has an equally diverse student body and feeds into Cross Keys High School.
“We have expectations for our teachers,” Green said at the time. “Even though they have personal feelings, they have to realize that they have an audience who’s watching them and counting on them.”
According to Green, the Jan. 30 statement sought to grant students assurance that DCSD officials remain committed to being culturally responsive, diverse and supportive of DeKalb County’s immigrant population.
“Our schools will be safe places for learning and teaching,” Green said. “We will not tolerate any form of bullying or discrimination on or off district property that interferes with learning or the rights of others.”
Green referred to DCSD campuses as places that help the course of assimilation rather than hinder it.
“Imagine how hard it is to come to a new country and start life over without familiar ties to family, culture or language,” Green said. “DeKalb schools give an anchor to our new citizens. Our role as school leaders is to help learning in our schools to become love—love for a new place, a new way of life and, ultimately, for one another.”
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