The Aurora school board sought to convey Thursday that the controversial statements of one of its members should not overshadow the board’s actions to support immigrant and refugee families.
Board president Amber Drevon sent a statement to reporters trying to shift attention back to a board resolution last month that underscored district policies about responding to immigration enforcement actions and emphasized “inclusive practices.”
The resolution was meant to allay fears in immigrant communities. Although the vote for the resolution was unanimous, board member Cathy Wildman’s remarks during the board’s deliberations continue to cause challenges for the school district.
Widlman at that meeting called the resolution unnecessary and argued that it singled out a group of students she called rule-breakers. After being criticized by education reform groups and speakers at this week’s school board meeting, Wildman read a lengthy statement that emphasized the importance of following rules and included an assurance that she wants students to feel safe. She declined to answer questions from Chalkbeat at the meeting.
Here is the full text of the statement Drevon shared, which she said in an email was on behalf of the board:
“The Aurora Public Schools Board of Education values holding open conversations with our community. The Board is comprised of individual members who are entitled to voice their own opinions. We voted unanimously on May 16, 2017 to pass ‘A Resolution to Reaffirm Aurora Public Schools’ Inclusive Practices and Beliefs for all Students Regardless of Documentation Status.’ The vote and text of the resolution, not the comments of any one member, speak to the Board’s commitment to upholding the policies, core beliefs and practices already in place to support our immigrant and refugee families. Our focus remains on providing the best educational opportunities for every APS student.”