The Roosevelt School Board unanimously adopted a resolution on Tuesday to "communicate forcefully to Sheriff [Joe] Arpaio that his immigration and school safety patrols are not welcome in south Phoenix."
The measure is meant to assuage the fears of area parents who don't want Arpaio's non-police volunteers, who sometimes carry guns and whose criminal backgrounds don't bar them from being a posse member, to patrol school campuses without the approval of local district officials and "full collaboration with the Phoenix Police Department."
Lawrence Robinson, a school board member who is also running for a seat in Phoenix City Council District 8, introduced the measure that was drafted in part by The Rise of South Phoenix, a community group that supported his election to the school board.
The same community members are now behind his election for city council. And they reject the notion that the resolution is just a political move by Robinson to curry favor among Latino voters.
"We knocked on 42,000 doors and made more than 100,000 phone calls to help get him elected to the school board," says Joseph Larios, who running Robinson city council campaign and also backed his school board race.
They worked hard to have a representative through whom they can help shape school policy, and draft resolutions that reflect the wants and needs of the community, he says.
"These are the fruits of our labor," Larios tells New Times.
Robinson also dismisses political chatter surrounding the genesis of the Roosevelt Public Safety Resolution.
"I was elected to do what we just did," Robinson said after the Tuesday board meeting, adding that he was honoring those undocumented members of the community who helped usher him to office.
"They were courageous enough to stand up for their community," he said. "And I think the more people who are willing to do that, the better off we will all be."
The complete text of the resolution:
Whereas, in the aftermath of Sandy Hook and other shootings, the issue of school safety has achieved national significance; and
Whereas, schools in the Roosevelt School District have strong safety plans and positive relations with the Phoenix Police Department; and
Whereas, activities of the Maricopa County Sheriff's office have already created fear in the community, with immigration raids causing parents and families to avoid attending public meetings at local schools; and
Whereas, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has threatened to unilaterally patrol school campuses using non-certified volunteers, without the approval or cooperation of local districts; and
Whereas, these patrols would create further fear among students and families, deterring future involvement in their schools;
Therefore be it resolved that the Roosevelt School Board, along with the broader south Phoenix community, communicate forcefully to Sheriff Arpaio that his immigration and school safety patrols are not welcome in south Phoenix, and that any sheriff's office activity be done in full collaboration with the Phoenix Police Department and any other relevant agencies including the Roosevelt School District.
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