Wednesday 2 March 2022

Letter to School Districts Across the Province

In April, a motion supporting Sanctuary Schools policies will be put forward at the B.C. School Trustees Association (BCSTA) Annual General Meeting. Sanctuary Health is writing to School Boards across the province with the below message asking trustees to support the motion and to implement Sanctuary Schools policies in their districts.

Dear School Board Chairs,

We are writing to you requesting that you share this message with your fellow trustees.

We encourage you to take a leadership role in implementing a Sanctuary Schools policy in your district to provide access to basic education for all children eligible under the School Act. Click here to read a briefing note explaining what a Sanctuary Schools policy is and why it is important to pass such a policy. Migrant families should be able to register, without needing an advocate, in a welcoming, safe, anti-racist environment. As explained in the briefing note, Sanctuary Health met directly with representatives of the Funding and Financial Accountability Branch at the Ministry of Education and discussed common concerns raised by school districts about Sanctuary Schools policies. The Ministry's response confirming that their ongoing commitment to access to basic education for all children ordinarily resident regardless of immigration status is in alignment with Sanctuary Schools policy is included in the briefing note.

We also encourage you to support the motion in favour of Sanctuary School policies being put forward at the upcoming B.C. School Trustees Association (BCSTA) Annual General Meeting. This motion is an important opportunity for school boards to work together to recognize and support the right to education. We believe that the most effective way to create accessible, welcoming schools is for school districts to work together. The BCSTA is the perfect forum to implement this work. In 1989, the BCSTA participated in a review of the School Act, writing that “all children resident in a district should be eligible to attend public school. School boards should not be asked to police the Immigration Act.” This motion seeks to continue this history of fighting for the Right to Education.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Sanctuary Health