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ACCESS TO EDUCATION WITHOUT FEAR OF DEPORTATION!

May/24/2006 - 6:30 pm

WED. MAY 24, 2006
ACCESS TO EDUCATION WITHOUT FEAR OF DEPORTATION!
6:30PM, TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD OFFICE, 5050 YONGE ST.

Educators, Parents, Students & Concerned Community Members,

On Thursday April 27th, Kimberly and Gerald Lizano-Sossa were picked up at their school by immigration officials and taken to the Rexdale immigration holding centre. Thefollowing day, while the traumatized school community rallied in their support, two other children were picked up, this time at St. Jude's Catholic School, where they were held as 'bait' until their mother arrived. In both cases, the families and school communities have been traumatized, and the sense of security that students should have at school has been seriously undermined. These incidents stand as stark examples of necessity of a strong policy to ensure that all learners have access to education without fear.

Help us to ensure that all Toronto-area students have ACCESS TO EDUCATION without the fear that Immigration Enforcement agents will enter and disrupt students' classrooms and lives.

Join us at 6:30pm on Wed. May 24th at the Toronto District School Board Offices (5050 Yonge St.) for a press conference and then a delegation to the board's monthly meeting where trustees will debate recommendations that the TDSB adopt an "Access Without Fear: Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Trustees will also be debating recommendations that immigration officials not be admitted to Toronto-area schools and instead direct their queries to the Director of Education.

If you are unable to attend the meeting on the 24th, please send letters of support to your trustee urging them to pass the above two motions. Please send a copy to nooneisillegal@riseup.net

Contact information for your trustee is available at: http://www.tdsb.on.ca/boardroom/trustees/index.asp

For further information, please contact:
nooneisillegal@riseup.ca
Call: Krista Johnston at (416)951-4330 OR Tanya Roberts-Davis at (416)553-9190

For Media Related Inquiries, please contact
Sima Zerehi (416) 893-4053
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Background Information:

Deputations to Toronto District School Board on Canadian Border
Services actions at Toronto-area Schools
May 11, 2006
The CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency, the enforcement arm of
Citizenship and Immigration Canada) entered two Toronto-area schools
at the end of April, removing 4 children in total and incarcerating
them at the Rexdale Immigration Holding Centre. No One is Illegal
has been woking closely with one of these families, the
Lizano-Sossas, and especially with their two high school-age children,
Kimberly & Gerald, all of whom are slated for deportation in July.
These two children, who were abruptly pulled out of their Toronto
classrooms by CBSA officials and put into detention with their mother,
2 year old sister and grandmother, have
been speaking out in defense of their family and of all non-status
families. Further details of these cases can be obtained at
http://toronto.nooneisillegal.org.

On May 11th, members of NOII and the Access
Without Fear: Don't Ask, Don't Tell campaign attended a meeting of the Toronto
District School Board Program and Services Committee in order to call
on the trustees to adopt a proactive stance against CBSA entering
schools. Since we had been informed that a Protocol had been issued
to principals in the TDSB, directing them to cooperate with border
officials in most instances, NOII & DADT members called for them to
adopt & publicize an alternative protocol that would
be based on the principle that all learners are welcome in our
schools. This memo would make a strong public statement reassuring the
public that TDSB schools would remain safe spaces for all learners by
directing staff and principals to send any visiting CBSA officials to
the TDSB Director of Education, not into classrooms.

Trustee Bolton also announced that he would be putting forward a
motion for an Access Without Fear: Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell policy at the
May 11th meeting, which NOII and DADT members supported. Deputations
were made by:

Krista Johnston (No One is Illegal & DADT)
Steve Watson (Canadian Auto Workers)
Javier Davila (OSSTF Equity Rep. and Teacher)
Albert Koehl (Education Rights Task Force)

These deputations were well received and a large number of supporters
filled the board room, adding to the strength of the demand that
trustees commit to protecting all those attending their schools.
Generally, trustees appeared quite anxious to re-assure their
students, staff, and communities that TDSB schools would remain safe
spaces for learners.

The following two motions were passed at the meeting
(Note: this means that the motions will be debated at the upcoming
full board meeting on May 24th- NOT that they will be enacted
immediately):

1) That a memo be sent to Principals and staff directing them to not
cooperate with CBSA officials. In the event that CBSA officials
approach the school they are to be directed to the Director
of Education.

2)Adopt the principle of a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Access Without
Fear" policy for schools within the TDSB jurisdiction

All supporters are needed to attend the May 24th TDSB Meeting.

Background materials are posted on the NOII & DADT websites:
toronto.nooneisillegal.org
dadttoronto.org

For further information, please email: nooneisillegal@riseup.net