This question is haunting me. I can’t sleep. I have knots in my stomach. I can’t eat. All I can see is the images of innocent, unsuspecting children sleeping on cold floors, living in cages with no access to their parents or any other trusted adult while some Americans sit around and show more concern for a dog in a shelter than a child in one. This is sick! What happened to, “Give me your tired your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuge of your teeming shores, send these the homeless tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden shore”?
I learned this poem in the form of a song in elementary school and I sang it patriotically and proudly. Sadly, I can no longer do that.
It doesn’t get much worse than when a society stoops so low as to not protect its children. Family is the cornerstone of our society. I learned this in my home, in my church, and in my pre-service teacher training. As a teacher, when our government is actively breaking up families, what am I to do? As an educator and sworn mandated reporter of suspected child abuse, I am compelled to do something about what is happening to the children who are seeking asylum in the United States with their parents.
What do I do as a mandated reporter when the federal government Is the child abuser? What are other mandated reporters doing? Anything? Have you seen the photographs? Have you listened to the reports? Have you read the newspaper articles? Children are weeping tears of anguish as they are literally ripped out of their mother’s arms! Toddlers changing babies’ diapers — all in the good ol’ U.S. of A!
I was going to avoid the issue and write about my students’ recent school visit from an author and the subsequent letters they wrote to her, but that just didn’t feel right. Avoidance has never been a good route for me. My silence may be misconstrued as a co-signage with the Trump Administration’s inhumane immigration policies. These children should be getting checked out in hospitals and going to schools, not in detention centers. They’ve done nothing wrong and they should not be penalized. The U.S. government and its cronies, however, would like us to believe otherwise.
For example, according to Fox News,
School is eight hours a day inside the federal immigration lockup at Karnes County Residential Center. The curriculum for pre-kindergarten to 12th grade is the same as bilingual schools across the state. Days begin with the reciting of the pledge of allegiance in English to the Texas and American flags.
Amid a surge of families and unaccompanied minors pouring across the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities converted what had been the all-male Karnes facility about 50 miles southeast of San Antonio to one with capacity for 532 women and children. They then teamed up a nearby charter school district to begin offering classes.”
I must say that I’m skeptical about the normalized depiction of school for children in a detention center stated in this article. Furthermore, schools that team up with ICE to offer education inside detention centers as opposed to advocating for those children to be released and go to school on the outside like their peers is deeply troubling.
Liking commentaries on Facebook is not doing anything. Following people on Instagram is also not doing anything. I write this for you as much as I write it for myself. This blog post is an impassioned cry from me, Vivett Dukes, an educator who knows that as a human being, I need to do something to help the immigrant children whose human rights are being violated. You do, too.