ACLU warns school districts to protect immigrant students in light of reported intimidation

By James A. Riley - Digital Content Producer
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By Mark Tenia - RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Since the election, there have been a number of stories of intimidation and/or harassment against people across the country.

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently released a report saying it's received 867 complaints of post-election incidents of hate, with 30 of those complaints coming from Virginia.

In response to stories of immigrant students being harassed, the ACLU of Virginia sent out a letter to superintendents across the state reminding them it is illegal not to protect students, including those that are immigrants.

"It's very difficult, and I think it's something either directly or indirectly that many students are unfortunately dealing with right now," Bill Farrar with the ACLU of Virginia told 8News.

Last month, Princess Anne Middle School principal Alex Bergren in Virginia Beach identified about 10 students who victimized their classmates with comments like: "Yu are going to be sent back to your country now," and, "we are going to build a wall in the school and put you on the other side of it."

Bergren said he doesn't take it lightly.

"I don't believe it's right to run away from a challenge like this," he said. "I think we solve it by taking it head on and having a conversation about it and bringing the focus back on things that are right."

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