On February 7, 2017, a student at Briarwood Elementary in the Shawnee Mission School District was taken into state custody by the Prairie Village Police Department at the end of the school day. The child's mother had been detained by ICE agents and her toddler had also been taken into state custody. The student's father was not home at the time of the incident and later picked his children up from a Division of Children & Families facility.

At no point during the ordeal did Briarwood Elementary staff attempt to contact the child's father or emergency contacts to notify them of the situation or simply ask them to pick the child up, a solution that would have spared him unnecessary additional anxiety and fear.

The fact that a school allowed a terrified child to be removed from the building by police without making an effort to alert his father or other adult figures in his life is alarming. On April 19, the ACLU sent a letter to Sara Goodburn, President of the Board of Education of the Shawnee Mission School District, seeking answers as to why school officials failed to contact the child's emergency contacts. Furthermore, the letter offers guidance on how to more appropriately respond to a similar situation in the future.

On April 24, in response to the incident at Briarwood Elementary that the ACLU contacted the school district about, the Shawnee Mission board of education adopted a resolution that improves the district's protocol for interaction with immigration enforcement in Shawnee Mission schools.

Acknowledging the threat immigration enforcement actions pose to the safety and sanctity of schools, the resolution requires any immigration enforcement official entering a school or district building to notify the superintendent in advance with sufficient time for staff to make preparations to protect the emotional and physical safety of those involved. The resolution also requires the presentation of written authorization by a government official prior to the removal of a student from school property.

Finally, in the event that a child is removed from school, parents or emergency contacts will  be notified when "deemed appropriate by law enforcement."

 

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