About 200 teachers participate in a rally exterior Denver Public School head office in downtown Denver Jan. 24, 2019. Teachers have extremely voted to strike but their plans to walk off the task have actually been put on hold after the district asked the state to step in.
—P. Solomon Banda/AP
Saja Hindi, The Denver Post
A racial justice company says Denver Public Schools is frightening immigrant instructors who are considering striking, however district authorities called it an mistake.
The Denver Classroom Educators Association voted this week to authorize a district-wide walkout, calling for better pay for teachers. The school district asked for state intervention on Thursday that could hold-up the strike for up to 180 days.
However, on Thursday night, the Colorado People’s Alliance posted a letter sent out by a district human resources worker to a school, that specified that instructors on H or J visas who choose to strike will be reported to migration and the U.S. Department of State.
“If they have a pending case and choose to strike, this might impact the choice on the case,” the letter mentioned.
Ana Rodriguez, community organizer of the Colorado Individuals’s Alliance, said quickly after seeing the letter, the group started contacting its immigration lawyers.
“As far as we understand right now, the school is not needed to reach out to immigration or the (U. S. Department of State),” she stated.
The firm called for community members to set in motion and make their opinions understood to the school board and superintendent.
“It’s so irritating that DPS claims to be this inviting place for immigrant trainees, but they’re turning around and frightening immigrant teachers,” Rodriguez said.
In a statement Thursday night, district spokesman Will Jones said “an inaccurate interaction was supplied by a DPS employee concerning our teachers on H-1B and J-1 visas.”
Marisol Calderon, a teacher at Farrell B. Howell, stated staff members at her school saw the letter, including one who is Venezuelan and looking for asylum and another who is about to ended up being a U.S. citizen.
She called the letter a “scare strategy” that’s discouraging and terrible.
“The truth that the district idea this was OKAY was exceptionally frightening,” Calderon stated.
She included that it discredits what the district has stated about migration and diversity, and it makes it hard to go back to work on Friday.
But the district declaration said the mistake “was the result of a misinterpretation of the details that we received from our migration company, and the communication was in no way designated to cause worry for our teachers on visas. Our deepest apologies for any stress and anxiety that was caused by this mistake.”
DPS stated in its declaration that the district has to notify the U.S. Department of Labor if a strike takes place however not of workers who are participating in the strike.
Officials said they won’t gather that information or report it to immigration or the U.S. Department of State and that the district is working to “correct this misconception.”
“The district will do whatever in our legal power to protect our trainees’ and teachers’ confidential details and ensure that our trainees’ knowing environments are not interrupted by immigration enforcement actions,” officials said in the declaration.
The company representing the school district published information on its website about visa workers and potential strikes.
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