HB744, the Safe Schools Act, will be heard in the NC Education Committee This Tuesday May 31st.
As explained by Michelle Lozano Villegas, Co-President of Duke Students for Humane Borders, “The bill looks to ban all undocumented students from K-12 schools in the state by giving Principals the authority to act like ICE Agents, by allowing them to question the status of their students.”
What impacts would this legislation have?
– Creating a class of young people with no education; according to Communities in Schools North Carolina, a single high school drop-out costs the state $275,00 in lost taxes and productivity, not to mention the increased likelihood of crime. Would we ever consider completely eliminating education requirements and opportunities in juvenile detention centers or in prisons? Of course not — even if the government wants to discourage a certain behavior (in this case, the parents immigrating without the right visa), depriving people of education as a punishment harms society much more than it helps anybody
– Increasing the prevalence of child labor in the state. If parents with undocumented children can’t send their children to school, they are more likely to send their children to work with them, even in dangerous occupations like farming, where there are tens of thousands of (documented) injuries of children each year. As reported by the Human Rights Watch:
Juvenile farmworkers are routinely exposed to dangerous pesticides, suffering rashes, headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Long-term consequences of pesticide poisoning include cancer, brain damage, and learning and memory problems. Many young farmworkers are forced to work without access to toilet facilities, handwashing facilities, and adequate drinking water, the three most basic sanitation requirements. The lack of handwashing facilities contributes to pesticide poisoning and bacterial infections, while the lack of adequate drinking water can lead to dehydration and heat illness. Children often work in fields where the temperature is well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
No child deserves this.
-Violating basic human rights. According to Article 26 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, “Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory.” North Carolina would be saying: if you’re undocumented, education is not only not compulsory, it is discouraged. Basic human rights should be guaranteed to everyone.