Some San Diego public school parents are angered over plans for teachers to provide in-person instruction to migrant children while their kids remain stuck at home slogging through virtual Zoom sessions.
Teachers from the San Diego County Office of Education as well as other nonprofit organizations started providing educational services on Monday to some of the 500 minors who arrived from Texas and Arizona over the weekend.
The girls, whose ages range from 13 to 17, are being sheltered at the San Diego Convention Center, which has been repurposed as a temporary overflow facility, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The center is currently housing 350 teenage girls who arrived by charter flight on Saturday from a Border Patrol facility in the southern Texas town of Donna.
Geo Gillam (left), 8, works on school work with his mother Edith Carmona at their home in San Diego, California in this March 5 file photo
Some San Diego teachers are planning to volunteer to provide in-person instruction to migrant children from Central America who are being temporarily sheltered at the San Diego Convention Center (seen above on Friday)
Some 350 migrant girls between the ages of 13 and 17 were flown to San Diego after they were temporarily held at a Customs and Border Protection facility in Donna, Texas. The image above shows migrant children inside the facility on March 22
Another 150 girls were scheduled to have arrived from Tucson.
By the end of the week, the facility, which is being run by the Department of Health and Human Services, is expected to reach full capacity and house some 1,450 migrant teens.
San Diego teachers will provide the girls with instruction in English as well as the arts, according to KPBS-TV.
The migrants are expected to remain in the convention center until July, by which time the federal government is expected to have placed them with a family while their asylum cases are adjudicated in immigration courts.
‘We definitely want to introduce them to the arts, the visual arts and the performing arts,’ said Roberto Carrillo, a principal at the County Office of Education.
‘We’ll give them the opportunity to start expressing themselves through written formats, giving them a basic understanding of the English language.’
According to Carrillo, about 13 teachers from the County Office of Education have volunteered to work with the migrant students.
Many of those who will be housed at the convention center are from the Northern Triangle region of Central America that encompasses Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Plans to provide in-person instruction to migrant children angered parents of San Diego school children who have been forced to remain home during the COVID-19 pandemic while classes are taught virtually.
‘We have 130,000 kids who haven’t been allowed in a classroom for over a year in the San Diego United School District,’ San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond told Fox News.
‘It’s great that there’s in-person learning for those unaccompanied minors from Central America, but I wish every child in San Diego Country was allowed the same opportunity for in-person teaching.’
The federal government has been dealing with an influx of migrants who have been crossing the border in recent weeks. The image above shows migrant families from Central America wade through shallow waters after being delivered by smugglers on small inflatable rafts in Roma, Texas last Wednesday
One parent, Emily Diaz, told Fox News: ‘The system is broken when San Diego teachers are teaching migrant children in person, but the 100k students of taxpaying families at San Diego Unified School District are stuck learning in Zoom school.’
‘We agree that every child deserves an in-person education, but why are taxpaying students put last?
‘If this is a humanitarian issue then who is rescuing San Diego Unified students, because our leaders have failed them.’
A spokesperson for the San Diego Unified School District told Fox News that teachers were given the opportunity to volunteer to provide instruction to the migrant children. It is not known if the teachers are being paid.
A spokesperson for the county Office of Education told Fox News: ‘The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) is providing the educational program for the unaccompanied migrant children who will be staying at the San Diego Convention Center through July.
‘All children in California, regardless of immigration status, have a constitutional right to education.
‘We also have a moral obligation to ensure a bright future for our children.’
The spokesperson added: ‘The educational program will include English language development and social-emotional learning opportunities.
‘The teachers who are participating in the program are doing so voluntarily, and the program is following a COVID-19 screening protocol based on guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.’
Earlier this month, the school district and teachers’ union reached an agreement to resume in-person instruction starting the week of April 12.
According to the terms of the deal, the district will offer a hybrid model whereby families who do not feel comfortable sending their children to school can continue with virtual classes.
Those who do wish to send their kids to school can do so for four-days-per-week of in-class learning for six hours each day, though this is subject to how much space is available given social distancing restrictions.
More than 16,000 unaccompanied children were in government custody as of Thursday, including about 5,000 in substandard Customs and Border Protection facilities.
US authorities reported encounters with more than 100,000 migrants on the southern border in February, the highest since a four-month streak in 2019.
A migrant boy (center) in Reynosa, Mexico launches a paper airplane while playing with other migrant children at a plaza near the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge point of entry into the United States after being caught trying to cross into the US and deported
Encounters have averaged about 5,000 people per day throughout March, which would be about a 50 per cent increase over February if those figures hold for the entire month.
White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said the surge was cyclical.
‘They’re not the result of one administration’s policies or another administration’s policies. They’re the result of, for example, weather disasters in the region. They’re the result of people fleeing poverty and violence,’ Bedingfield said.
‘So we saw spikes in 2014. We saw them in 2019 when the Trump administration had perhaps the cruelest imaginable policies in place, family separation to try to deter people from coming, and they still came.’
The Biden administration continued to emphasize on the Sunday talk shows that the US-Mexico border ‘remains closed’ and that the majority of adults are being turned away.
But White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was not going to force children to go back on a treacherous journey.