FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 1, 2023
Texas AFT President Zeph Capo commented on House Bill 4, being heard today in the Senate Committee on Border Security, and its potential effects on public school students and employees:
“Every day in Texas, educators are teaching an increasingly diverse population of students, with Latino students making up a majority of the kids in Texas public schools. We won’t accept racist attacks on them, their families, and their heritage.
When a child’s life is disrupted by the arrest or deportation of a close family member, they experience trauma that affects their lives, both inside and outside their homes. Our kids bring more than their backpacks to school, and our job is to educate and support every one of them.
As a union of professional educators and school employees who are entrusted with these children’s well-being, Texas AFT is extremely concerned about the negative impact of HB 4 on students and our schools. The Senate should reject this harsh measure.
In the House, the bill was amended to prohibit the arrest, removal, or detainment of a person on the grounds or premises of a public or private primary or secondary school. However, nothing would stop a law enforcement officer from arresting a parent or guardian while driving their child to or from school. Will schools now suffer under an unforgiving accountability system or lose funding under attendance-based funding when students miss the bus and parents are afraid to take them to school?
Further, hateful rhetoric regarding the supposed ‘invasion’ of our country by undocumented immigrants, and the chilling effect of bills like HB 4 make children feel less safe and negatively affect their ability to learn or socialize with their peers.
Rep. Victoria Neave-Criado said on the House floor, ‘They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.’ We applaud the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus and other allies in standing up for kids and parents in this fight, and Texas AFT will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with them.”
The Texas American Federation of Teachers represents 66,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, support personnel, and higher-education employees across the state. Texas AFT is affiliated with the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers and the AFL-CIO.