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Gainesville schools may keep families informed on DACA
Board member proposes using parent coordinators to disseminate information
Sammy Smith
Gainesville school board member Sammy Smith

A Gainesville School Board member would like to see city schools disseminate information related to what is going on with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to its Latino families. 

The suggestion made by Sammy Smith at a board work session this week came on the heels of the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the DACA program.

Over the next six months, the program that protects from deportation those brought into the United States illegally before the age of 16, and allows them to work, will be phased out completely unless Congress intervenes.

Smith said Thursday that he made the suggestion to inform families through parent coordinators because all school principals were present at the work session earlier this week.

“The idea is to have parent coordinators, who are bilingual, contact families with accurate information about the situation related to DACA.” Smith said. “Every school has a parent coordinator.” 

Gainesville Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams reacted favorably to the idea.

“Our parent coordinators are our frontline, bilingual support to many of our families and are invaluable to most communication topics,” Williams said. “We hope to provide any clarifying information to the families.”

Board member Delores Diaz agrees that parents need to be informed and that parent coordinators play an important role in doing so, but right now she’s not sure anyone really knows what’s going on.

“I would not want to put anybody on the spot of trying to explain what’s going on,” Diaz said. “The parent coordinators would be the best to relay information, but we don’t know who has the answers right now.”

Smith said information disseminated through the internet is not always reliable.

Asked what information could be circulated by parent coordinators and from what source, Smith said it could be guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

Diaz suggested it might be helpful to wait and hear from the Georgia Department of Education.

“I think the state Department of Education could give us some guidelines and tell us how to deal with this,” Diaz said. 

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