FALLS CHURCH, Va. (WDVM) — Fairfax County Government adopted its public trust and confidentiality policy three months ago, which means the county will not cooperate with enforcing federal civil immigration laws. Now Fairfax County Public Schools are in the process of drafting their own policy to follow in the county’s footsteps.
The school board voted unanimously on Tuesday to develop a policy that aligns with the county to build trust with immigrant kids and families in the district.
Karl Frisch, Fairfax County School Board Member said, “This really is about regaining trust with our immigrant families. For too many families the trust has been broken and to regain confidence we have to demonstrate we’re only in the business of education.”
Cooperation with federal agencies like ICE will be prohibited unless there’s a court order.
“This comes down to fear. The fear of being reported or deported is keeping families from accessing the critical services that Fairfax County Public Schools offers, from meals to mental health services, parent workshops and academic workshops for their children” said Frisch.
School officials said there have been situations where undocumented students told the board that they never reported bullying or assaults in fear of being reported to ICE.
Diane Burkley Alejandro with ACLU People Power Fairfax said, “This policy will only result in the trust that we need if FCPS enforces it and makes sure that everyone knows about it. They need to shout it from the rooftops.”
ACLU People Power Fairfax member Alejandro said to see change beyond the school they’re working with community members such as Fairfax’s Commonwealth’s Attorney, Steve Descano and the sheriff’s office.
“It’s going to take a lot of work but it’s well worth it” said Alejandro.
As of now, school leaders do not have a specific time frame on when this new policy will go into effect.