Sobering realities on campus these days. Report is here.
Almost 90% of administrators indicated that they had observed behavioral or
emotional problems in immigrant students1 and one in four (25%) indicated that
this was a very big problem. Huge majorities of respondents recounted examples of
fear and anxiety on the part of their immigrant students. One Maryland teacher
writes: “We have one student who had attempted to slit her wrists because her family has been separated and she wants to be with her mother. She literally didn’t
want to live without her mother.” A California high school teacher explained, “I had
one student who came back the day after prom and would not eat or talk to anyone.
I finally found out from one of her friends that she came home from prom to find her mom deported and never had the chance to say good-bye or anything. She was
suffering but did not know what to do.”
So what are we going to do about this? This horror will end someday, but there will be another, for this group or a different one, and we’ll see the impact, and another generation of students will suffer accordingly.
How can we truly support them?
There are also indirect effects on non-immigrant students. In Southern schools
70% of educators reported this impact, with 15% judging it to be extensive. More
than one of seven educators in the South, and one in eight nationwide, reported
that students’ learning was being affected a lot due to concerns for classmates
whose families are targeted. For many, the ecology of the classroom has been
disrupted. One Northern California counselor commented on how the fears of
immigration raids had stressed her out: “I don’t know if it is stressing them [the
students] out, but I feel stressed out about how the San Francisco Chronicle
reported possible raids in California. It is a scare tactic which frightens not only
undocumented immigrants, but those who are around them.”
It’s a fallacy that this only hurts the direct victims. It is stressing out anyone with empathy for the vulnerable, and that certainly includes most college students.
Not a one person is at their best when stressed, and college is a big challenge for most even in the best conditions. We are forcibly pushing down our young, and I am fairly sure that’s what a handful of people want. But for the rest of us, the impact of this is clear and present.