Posters hung in a U.S. elementary school that read “IMMIGRANTS WELCOME” at the top and included anti-law enforcement sentiments have sparked controversy in Oregon. (See photos of poster below.)
The posters, which were hung in hallways and classrooms at El Camino del Rio/River Road Elementary School read, “The border is not a wall – it’s a system of control. It doesn’t protect people; it pits them against each other. It doesn’t foster togetherness; it breeds resentment. It doesn’t keep out predators; it gives them badges and guns. The border does not divide one world from another. There is only one world, and the border is tearing it apart.”
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) January 19, 2018
Original designs of the posters also advertised the website, Crimethinc.com, a pro-anarchist organization which describes itself as a “rebel alliance” and an “international network of aspiring revolutionaries extending from Kansas to Kuala Lumpur.” The website link was reportedly left off of some of the posters that were hanging in the school.
Radio station KLCC in Eugene, Ore., reported that the posters were allegedly removed by a contractor during winter break, according to 4-J school district officials. The contractor has since been barred from the school and the school board is considering charging the worker with vandalism.
Gustavo Balderas, superintendent of the 4-J District said, “It wasn’t the ‘IMMIGRANTS WELCOME,’ it was what was below that, that spoke about the border wall and that was where it gets a bit tricky with the politics of it all.”
Balderas said that some teachers have replaced the posters, and that the school board welcomes “any immigrant posters.”
“As of right now, we welcome any immigrant posters that are up anywhere across the district,” Balderas said. “It’s making sure that again we use language that does not politicize this statement. It, this … it’s not a political statement, it’s ‘immigrants welcome.’ We welcome all students.”
Kristidel McGregor, who has children that attend the bilingual school, said, “Schools don’t care what your immigration status is, what schools are there for is to educate students and to make students feel welcome.”
McGregor was upset when the school decided to leave the posters off of the walls, but said that she is pleased with the response from the 4-J school district.
“I think this particular incident may perhaps be over, but it’s just a smaller incident in a much larger issue,” McGregor told KLCC. “Schools have hit a turning point. Our schools in the United States are no longer majority white, I think we’re seeing some of the pushback on that.”