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Joint Statement Related to Children Separated from their Families at the Border

Released by the Network of Equity Assistance Centers, July 2018

Presently, immigrant children who have been separated from their parents at the border are being placed in different locations across the country where immigrant rights advocates and lawyers will, case-by-case, begin to search for their families. Children who have been separated from their parents need the caring support of a community. There is little doubt that these children have been through an extreme amount of stress, and even trauma. However, as the children who stay in the U.S. and eventually enroll in schools, it is important to avoid treating them as trauma victims who are unable to learn.

Schools can prepare to welcome these children by providing safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments. Trauma-informed approaches and eco-social, tiered models of academic and behavior supports, as well as culturally responsive school-based mental health services can provide ways of removing the barriers children who are experiencing traumatizing events may face in school.

As equity assistance centers, we are charged to support public educational agencies with the equitable treatment of students and the protections of their civil rights, particularly in relation to their race, sex, religion, and national origin. As part of the technical assistance that we provide, we offer information, resources and other technical assistance services to educators to support students who traverse the U.S. border. Below are a few resources that may be helpful in preparing to receive children who have been separated from their parents in schools. Should your school(s) require additional technical assistance, please contact your regional equity assistance center.


Public Education for Immigrant Students: Understanding Plyler v. Doe

The Science is Clear: Separating Families has Long-term Damaging Psychological and Health Consequences for Children, Families, and Communities

IDRA eBook: Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools

Article: Addressing “Ecological Shock”- Supporting Refugee Students in School

IDRA Infographic: Welcoming Immigrant Students in Schools (2018 Bilingual)

MAP Center Equity by Design: Examining Law & Policy for Undocumented Immigrant Students through the PK-20 Pipeline

MAP Center Equity by Design: Reframing School-Based Mental Health Supports with an Equity Lens

MAP Center Equity by Design: Supporting Social-Emotional Needs of Students Who Are Refugees

MAP Center Equity Tool: Know Your Rights: Achieving Academic Success for Undocumented Students in the P-20 Pipeline

Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff

IDRA Alert: Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools