In a letter dated March 17, 2011, the ACLU of Colorado urged the Roaring Fork School Board to adopt a policy prohibiting the current practice of School Resource Officers (SROs) collaborating with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

School resources officers are employed by local police departments to work in schools to promote school safety and build stronger relations between law enforcement, students and the local community. According to press accounts, it has recently come to light that one or more SROs working within the Roaring Fork School District have been directly collaborating with ICE. The ACLU says this collaboration threatens the sense of safety and security that immigrant students – whether documented or undocumented – have a right to feel in public school.

According to the ACLU’s letter, federal law prohibits schools from erecting barriers that discourage undocumented children from attending public school. In Plyler v. Doe, decided in 1982, the United States Supreme Court held that undocumented children in this country have the same right to a public education as citizens and other legal residents. The Court reasoned that denying an education to undocumented children who may be in this country for the rest of their lives “den[ies] them the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose[s] any realistic possibility they will contribute to even the smallest way to the progress of our nation.”

In response to the ACLU's letter and pressure from community groups, the school board adopted an MOU that urged police agencies supplying SROs to use "extraordinary discretion" before assigning SROs to additional police work that may implicate a student's immigraiton status.   

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Rebecca Wallace, ACLU of Colorado Staff Attorney