Educators plan 'teach-in' outside Tornillo: 'It's our responsibility to continue to speak out'
A number of educators with “Teachers Against Child Detention” are planning a “teach-in” outside the prison camp for migrant children in Tornillo, Texas next month. Mandy Manning “said teachers, retired teachers, paraprofessionals, and other educators will deliver lessons about ‘what's happening and who these kids are’ for 24 hours,” Education Week reports.
«It's our responsibility to continue to speak out against this atrocity until it ends,» Manning, recognized by the White House as 2018 National Teacher of the Year, said. «We have children who have done nothing wrong who are being imprisoned for an extended period of time. Every day that a child is in prison, that potential is diminished, and that's not OK. That's abuse, that's mistreatment.»
2,700 children are currently jailed at Tornillo, all of them minors who came to the U.S. by themselves. "We'd love to be able to go inside and do a day's worth of lessons,” she continued, “and bring teaching materials and books for the kids so we can ensure that they're at least having some quality education.” But that may not be possible—even sitting U.S. senators and House members have been barred from speaking with children.
Kids have a right to an education—regardless of immigration status—yet it’s unclear what schooling, if any, kids at Tornillo receive. “There is no school,” the New York Times reported in September. “The children are given workbooks that they have no obligation to complete.” Education Week reported that “in an emailed statement, an HHS spokesperson said that unaccompanied migrant children at Tornillo ‘receive educational services from instructors under the leadership of two certified principals.’”
What is clear is that children do not belong there, period. They do not belong in any detention, period. They should be in classrooms and in loving homes, not languishing in a prison camp in the Texas desert because immigration officials are purposefully arresting the people trying to sponsor them. “Manning said it is critical for educators to ‘raise our collective voice’ and call for the government to properly educate the migrant children and ultimately release them.”