Washington Schools Ban Border Patrol

The Spokane School District voted unanimously on Wednesday to ban Border Patrol agents from being on local school grounds. Officials said that potential encounters with students could lead to traumatic experiences and PTSD.

The Washington state school district revised its existing policy after getting pressure from Latino activists. New language was added that specifically prohibited these agents from entering schools.

Board President Nikki Otero Lockwood was emphatic in her denunciation of the border agents. “It’s to clarify and make it just very clear that Border Patrol should not be in our schools.”

School board officials added that the change was enacted to “align with federal immigration policy.” 

The group Latinos En Spokane began calling for such a policy in 2018. Executive Director Jennyfer Mesa said that students seeing Border Patrol on campus may be traumatized.

She claimed, “they could be targeted as immigrants, as having an accent, or if they’re asked for something about their parents, you know, that could be a stressful situation. Mesa said that such encounters could result in “stressors” and “create PTSD for students and families.”

Mesa called schools a “safe place,” in which agents are obviously invaders.

The Wednesday board decision took into account a 780-signature petition presented to members supporting the revision. Another addition established that staff members will not “collaborate with immigration enforcement agencies or share information” with them.

Immigration agents may also not be invited as guest speakers in classrooms.

The agency responded by calling the decision “unfortunate.” Chief Patrol Agent Lloyd Easterling of the Spokane Sector for the U.S. Border Patrol posted the response on X, formerly Twitter.

He wrote, “When agents and officers attend events at schools they are merely there for educational purposes, at the invitation of the school, and not to conduct immigration enforcement activities.

Easterling said CBP officers make school environments safer and noted that agents attend school functions regularly without controversy.

He said his agency works diligently to protect the nation from terrorists and dangerous drugs. “CBP routinely honors requests from local law enforcement agencies to assist in life-threatening situations, including active shooter incidents at schools.” 

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