Press Release

AFT President Weingarten on National Coming Out Day for Undocumented Students and the Educators Who Work with Them

For Release: 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Contact:

Kate Childs Graham
202/393-6354; cell 202/615-2424
kchilds@aft.org

WASHINGTON—Statement from AFT President Randi Weingarten on United We Dream's National Coming Out Day for educators and undocumented students.

"When students don't feel safe or able to be themselves at school, at home or in their communities, they suffer. We saw this in Alabama, where legislation was passed that forced schools to check students' immigration status. Outcry from parents, students, teachers, clergy and community activists led to that law being declared unconstitutional and unworkable.

Today, on this National Coming Out Day for educators and undocumented students, again we band together—parents, students, teachers and community members—to stand with those in our schools who are undocumented and want to "come out"—an act I know, as a gay woman, takes a lot of courage. As Congress fails to do the right thing and pass comprehensive immigration reform, it's vital that our schools remain safe havens, built on mutual trust between students and educators. Educators shouldn't be forced to be snitches. All students—no matter where they were born—should be able to dream their dreams and achieve them."

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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.