CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox shared with the board tonight that he spent the day with local leaders hearing stories of how CMS students have been impacted by recent ICE arrests and at one point was on the edge of tears, saying that he has a message to those students and families.
“When blue lights come from law enforcement officers who may be there for a completely different purpose.. [students] they are now traumatized because they are wondering which of their neighbors are going to be ripped out of their sleep," said Wilcox.
Wilcox shared his concerns about how the recent ICE raids in Charlotte are impacting CMS students and families.
“Its fair to say that some of our children, their fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, are traumatized and quite frankly fearful right now," said Wilcox.
“The ICE actions are designed to terrorize the community.. my community and unfortunately its working,” said Carol Sawyer, representing District 4.
“To me, that’s literally heartbreaking,” said Wilcox.
Wilcox stressed that CMS does not and will not ask for a student or families immigration status at any point during the CMS registration and enrollment process.
“Their residency status is not a factor in the enrollment to our schools," explained Wilcox.
“Student information is protected by both federal and state law and we will not share that information within the boundaries of those laws.”
Wilcox says families aren’t just emotionally being affected by these raids...
“I’m hearing of families that because their parents are not able to leave the house and go to work, because they are afraid of what might happen to them.. they’re now not able to buy food and put it on the table for the kids," said Wilcox.
In a rare press conference last week, Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents said the only reason they’re now having to go into neighborhoods and pull targets out of their homes, is because the Sheriff recently changed policy and eliminated the 287-g program that let ICE into jails to deport those already arrested.
“It forces my officers to go out on the street to conduct more enforcement operations," said Sean Gallagher, ICE Regional Director.
CMS board members offered their support to students and families.
“No matter what your citizenship status is, no matter what you’re parent’s citizenship status is.. I just want you to know that I love you and I am here for you as a school board representative," said Elyse Dashew, Vicechairperson.
“I want to say to our students and their families, that we are here for you and we are going to do everything we can to keep them safe," said Wilcox.
Wilcox says CMS plans to send out resources to school principals tomorrow to share with families who might be going through this crisis right now and hes asking all district employees to pay close attention to students who may seem affected by these recent raids.