Email From Wade Smith to Staff and Stakeholders (9/5/17)
Colleagues and Stakeholders,
As many of you are aware, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this morning the sunset of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) that was put into place during the Obama administration. Come March 5, 2018, individuals will begin losing their status unless congress implements legislation to continue and/or modify the now-expired executive order. Although we have no way to know how many students and families this may affect within Walla Walla Public Schools, one can only assume that this will impact a number of our pupils, their relatives, and other stakeholders.
As I have shared with you prior, our Board, district, and staff stand firm in educating ALL students. We are both a tolerant and compassionate district. Through our collective actions we will continue to reassure our students that Walla Walla Public Schools is a place where diversity of thought, belief, culture, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, is honored and respected in a civil, safe, and compassionate manner. This reminder serves critical as our nation continues her debate over the DACA/immigration policies currently under examination.
Diversity in Walla Walla Public Schools continues to be regarded as a remarkable asset, one that provides a rich and glorious tapestry in the fabric of our educational program. As such, it was acknowledged and formally adopted as one of our core beliefs, and continues to inform and guide both our daily actions and decisions. Diversity is our strength.
As requested from all of you prior, please continue to help safeguard our campus culture so that it remains a healthy one. I would ask that, when appropriate, you reaffirm and re-assure to students that our primary mission has always been, and will continue to be, their safety and well-being while at school. Remind them that we will always do everything in our power to ensure our campuses are ones that reflect and support tolerance, respect, and civility. We will never ask students about their immigration status.
To help codify this important message into action, we developed our "We Belong Here" campaign. This follows a resolution adopted by our Board last February in support of all students. If you notice students in need of support, please direct them to an intervention specialist or counselor at your school. Both Sergio Hernandez and Dr. Victor Vergara have and will continue to provide resources and connections to support students and their families.
Thank you in advance for your sensitivity and understanding toward this situation. Together we can ensure a learning environment that guarantees all students are afforded the opportunity to develop into Washington’s most sought-after graduates.
Wade Smith, Superintendent
"Developing Washington's most sought-after graduates"