UPDATE: School board unanimously reaffirms policy to not keep immigration records

Update, Aug. 9

The Salem-Keizer School Board on Tuesday unanimously reaffirmed a policy saying the school district won’t maintain immigration records about student or their families, and will not allow immigration agents access to students on school grounds unless required by law.

Board directors also voted to adopt new curricula for International Baccalaureate biology, physics, chemistry and music classes with a 6-0-1 vote, with Director Krissy Hudson abstaining.

The board unanimously approved other agenda items, including new grants and a communications policy between the board and district leadership.

Original story:

The Salem-Keizer School Board meets Tuesday to consider science and music curricula for advanced high school classes, and to adopt a resolution saying the district won’t maintain records about students’ immigration status.

Read it: AGENDA

To participate

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8. 

The board will meet virtually, and members of the public may watch the meeting online or give public comment. Public comment sign-ups close at 3 p.m. the Monday before the meeting.

The meeting will be streamed on CC:Media, channel 21, and on YouTube at the links below.


Safe and welcoming schools

Board members will vote on adopting the district’s Safe and Welcoming Schools resolution, which says that the district will not collect or maintain records about students’ and families’ immigration status.

The resolution also says federal immigration officials will not be allowed access to students at school or information about them unless required by law, and that all such requests will be forwarded to the district’s attorney.

“The district shall provide training and additional resources if needed for existing crisis and emergency response teams in order to help ensure the safety and well-being of Salem-Keizer students who may be impacted by immigration enforcement actions,” the resolution says.

This has been district policy since 2017, but the resolution is typically adopted annually at the start of the school year “as we want our students, their families, and our community to understand our commitment as the school year begins,” the agenda item says.

New curricula, communication policy

The school board will vote on adopting several textbooks that are part of the International Baccalaureate curriculum for IB classes offered in the district.

Those include books for IB biology, chemistry, physics and music.

Board members will also vote on approving a set of communications norms outlining expected communications between Superintendent Andrea Castañeda, her top cabinet members and school board directors.

The document calls for “no surprises” communication from both sides, and asks board members to direct all questions and concerns to the superintendent, rather than individual schools or other district employees.

The board can “expect that the superintendent will keep them informed of emergent issues as soon as possible and at a level of detail that is prudent and practicable.”

Updates and reports

The board will hear a presentation on the district’s partnership with United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley.

Board members will also receive written reports on summer graduation and English language learners, and hear a report from the superintendent.

Correction: The meeting takes place Tuesday, Aug. 8, not Tuesday, Aug. 7 as originally reported. Salem Reporter apologizes for the error.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.