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State education agency issues guidance in wake of arrest witnessed by school children

Oregon House Democrats are condemning recent actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Washington County, following the arrest of a father at a school bus stop in Washington County last month.

Citing the bus stop arrest, coupled with subpoenas sent to law enforcement agencies by ICE, Oregon Democrats say the federal agency's actions are politically motivated attempts to subvert Oregon's sanctuary laws.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Oregon Democrats and the Oregon Department of Education both spoke out following reports of a parent being arrested by immigration agents near a school bus stop."This move is a clear attempt to intimidate our communities and bully Oregon as a Sanctuary State," Rep. Diego Hernandez, who represents parts of east Portland, stated in a press release Monday, March 2. "ICE and the Trump Administration are trying to sow confusion and fear among our immigrant communities, and we must push back against their misinformation campaign. Here in Oregon, we believe in building an inclusive and welcoming state for everyone. Like classrooms and school grounds — bus stops should be safe, inclusive, and welcoming for all students, families, staff, and community members. What happened last week threatens that sense of safety within our public schools. We must continue to stand strong

with our sanctuary laws and ensure compliance in every corner of the state."

Education department: "Bus stops should be safe"

News of a parent being arrested by immigration agents as children watched from a school bus prompted the Oregon Department of Education and the state's teachers union to speak out.

ODE issued guidance to superintendents throughout the state last week.

In a memo from the Education Department on Thursday, Feb. 27, officials provided tips to "protect students and ease fears."

"This action by ICE made this bus stop, and by extension, our schools an unsafe place for the children and families we serve," Colt Gill, the state's deputy superintendent, said in a letter. "The action was harmful and traumatic and is counter to our shared values for schools and the children we serve in Oregon."

The Oregon Education Association, an employee union representing teachers and classified staff, also weighed in against the federal agency's actions.

"No child or their family should have to feel afraid to participate in their public school, and no student should ever have to experience the trauma of a family being torn apart — especially at a school bus stop," OEA President John Larson stated Wednesday, March 4. "OEA strongly condemns these actions and is committed to building a safe and inclusive public school system that serves every child in Oregon."

The reactions came after Tigard-Tualatin officials confirmed that the man arrested was a parent of two students, and was taken into custody near a bus stop on Feb. 19, moments after dropping off his children.

School board members were the first to speak publicly about the incident on Feb. 24.

ICE provided additional details about the arrest and clarified its policies, noting schools, and marked or known school bus stops, are already on its list of "sensitive locations" that are generally avoided by officers when children are present.

Tanya Roman, a public affairs officer with ICE, identified the arrested man as Tomas Galvan-Rodriguez, and said he is awaiting immigration proceedings before a federal judge.

Roman said the location of the traffic stop where Galvan-Rodriguez was arrested "did not occur at a known marked school bus stop or a location that was previously known to the officers."

ICE indicated Galvan-Rodriguez is a Mexican citizen who is in the country illegally. Court records show the man has two prior misdemeanor convictions in Oregon from 2004 and 2008 for non-injury hit-and-run and theft.

This story has been updated with a statement from the Oregon Education Association.


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