[2/28/17] Just a few weeks after an Atlanta-area school superintendent issued a statement warning school employees not to say anything about immigrants that might be deemed discriminatory, a Detroit-area school system has branded itself a “safe haven” for refugees and immigrants.
Hamtramck Public Schools will provide “community resources” and “access to legal services” for any families negatively impacted by President Trump’s policies, according to a statement published in a Detroit newspaper.
“All Hamtramck schools are safe havens with a commitment to help all immigrant families connect with the needed resources to avoid deportation,” Superintendent Thomas Niczay told the Detroit News.
Hamtramck passed a resolution with the “safe haven” designation in January, before Trump even took office.
“As a board and a school district, we thought ahead and wanted to have a resolution in place to make our community know that whatever happens after January, Hamtramck Public Schools will be home away from home for their children,” Hamtramck school board secretary Salah Hadwan, whose family emigrated from Yemen, told the News.
Hamtramck achieved notoriety in November 2015 when it elected the nation’s first Muslim-majority city council, after which it took on the name of “Shariahville” among some Michiganians who saw the town as an example of what they didn’t want their cities to become.
Hamtramck also became one of the first cities to allow a mosque to broadcast the Islamic call to prayer over loudspeakers in 2004, leading many ethnic Polish residents to move out of the city and head for the suburbs.
Proud of diversity
In Atlanta, it was DeKalb County Superintendent Stephen Green who issued a statement Jan. 31, a few days after President Trump announced a temporary travel ban on citizens from seven terror-prone countries, saying speech deemed by the school board to be discriminatory against immigrants, legal or illegal, would not be tolerated “on or off district property.” He declared DeKalb schools “safe places” for the districts diverse student body, made up of students from 180 countries, and parroted Hillary Clinton’s talking points that “diversity is our strength.”
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