A safe and welcoming school

We believe that schools must be safe and welcoming for all students and that fear is the enemy of learning.

Our advocacy efforts in this area are focused on two issues: school safety and immigration.

School Safety

Nothing matters more than the safety of our students and everyone else on our school grounds. In 2019, there were at least 25 shootings on school campuses that resulted in deaths or injuries—and some of us have firsthand experience with the devastating impact that gun violence can have on a community.

We call on policymakers to support a broad range of strategies to prevent gun violence in schools. These include meaningful improvements to safety technology and infrastructure; increased funding and better coordination in the area of mental and behavioral health; efforts to identify young people who are struggling before they harm themselves or others; and laws to keep the most dangerous weapons out of the hands of the most dangerous people. Importantly, we do not believe that arming teachers will solve the problem of school shootings and oppose legislation to do so.


It is not only our legal obligation to serve all students, but also our moral obligation. Every child has the right to a free public education, and families should feel safe in engaging with their child’s school. We respect students’ rights and are committed to providing an equitable education and other supports so that all children, including our immigrant children, learn and grow. In addition, all students should have lessons that allow them to explore topics related to diversity and immigration and that help them know and embrace the cultures of their peers.

We work to ensure the immigrant students and families in our systems understand their rights and have resources to manage the anxiety of living as an undocumented person. We connect them with social service agencies, offer important information in a variety of languages, facilitate safe community conversations, and collaborate with partners to provide counseling and other aligned supports. To meet the learning needs of our immigrant students, we assess where they are academically when they arrive at our schools, ensure our teachers and staff are trained on how best to support these students, and provide specialized programs to help them excel in their studies and navigate the transition to college and careers.

Many young adults who came to the United States as undocumented children live in constant fear. Though America is the only home they have ever known, prior to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, they were denied the chance to fully thrive in our country. DACA provides important protections for these young people known as Dreamers, removing the threat of deportation and giving them opportunities to attend and graduate from college, find jobs, and obtain health insurance. We strongly advocate for the preservation of DACA, vehemently oppose the separation of families at the United States-Mexico border, and urgently call for comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform.

Watch video
Chiefs for Change Board Chair Pedro Martinez, who is currently CEO of Chicago Public Schools, testified before the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor about how immigration policies affect students, families, and schools. He delivered his remarks when he served as superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District in Texas.