In response to emerging reports of hate speech and violence directed at refugee and immigrant communities,Â Highline Public Schools announced Friday (Dec. 2) that it is joining over 50 local organizations and community leaders to sign a statement articulating their support of targeted communities. This statement, signed by a wide variety of large and small organizations, reaffirms the organizations and the United Statesâ€™ historic commitment to accepting and valuing refugees and immigrants. The statement of support (see below) was drafted by the Northwest Refugee and Immigrant Health Coalition (NWIRHC), a group of doctors, social workers, educators, resettlement workers, public health practitioners, and community organizers who have been working together since 2011 to improve the health of refugees and asylum seekers in Western Washington. Concerned for their well-being, and in response to harassment and fears expressed by their clients/patients/community, they felt compelled to issue a statement of support for them in the face of a rise of hate speech particularly directed against Muslims, refugees, and undocumented immigrants. In addition, Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield sent a letter to all Highline families articulating the districtâ€™s deep commitment of respecting and supporting all students and families in Highline. â€œWhile taunts and name-calling were astonishingly accepted on the campaign trail, we have not tolerated such behavior in our schools, and we will not â€“ ever,â€ Enfield said. â€œFor my part as superintendent, I renew my commitment to ensuring that students feel safe and nurtured in our schools. Our promise of knowing every student by name, strength, and need means that every student feels respected and supported.â€ Read Dr. Enfieldâ€™s entire letter online atÂ bit.ly/OpenLetterNov2016. To learn more about the NWIRHC statement of support or to find out how participating agencies are working to support and help protect immigrant and refugee communities, please check out the coalition website:Â www.nwirhc.orgÂ or contact Beth Farmer atÂ 206-683-4512Â /Â [email protected].]]>
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