Dreamers look to uncertain future

District stands by all students in SVVSD and beyond


Aiden Owen

Mead High Students travel to their next class.

Jared Overturf, Editor

The Saint Vrain Valley School District is a diverse community with students from many different backgrounds. Some of these students have originally come from other countries and are currently protected by a government program called DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. These are students, known as Dreamers, who were brought into the United States illegally by their parents before they were of a certain age. DACA is currently in the process of being repealed or replaced by the new administration of the United States. While the district does not keep any information of students regarding immigration status, it is clear that the impact of the repeal will be widespread.

To be eligible for DACA, Dreamers must have arrived in the United States before their 16th birthday, be below a certain age, be in school or have graduated high school, have committed no felonies or misdemeanors of significance, and fit other criteria.

The school district, through Superintendent Dr. Don Haddad, has made it clear that they fully support every student regardless of their background or legal status. While other school districts in Colorado released official statements when the repeal of DACA was announced regarding their support for Dreamers, SVVSD chose not to. “We’re not changing our approach to anything,” Haddad said. “We have clear board policies, and we, as I’ve said before, treat our kids with the same kindness, respect, love, and concern, 24/7. So there would be no need to put out something that would imply that we’re going to all of a sudden do something differently. Our policies are clear and our approach is clear.”

Olga Cordero, a counselor currently working at Rocky Mountain Elementary, who has worked with DACA families in the district since the program was first enacted, believes that the impact of the changing political climate will be felt by Dreamers everywhere. In her work with DACA families, she had students who may not have seen the purpose in trying in school or working hard, but that changed when DACA was enacted. “Students had hope,” she said. “They worked harder. They felt that they had a future. They were motivated by their own possibilities.”

While school districts in Colorado cannot collect any information regarding the legal or immigration status of students, “5280” magazine estimates that there are approximately 17,000 Dreamers in the state of Colorado, and a number of those are students within the St. Vrain Valley School District.

It is still unclear as to what program will replace DACA and what may change for current DACA recipients. What has been made clear is that all students are fully supported by the district, and that will not change regardless of the replacement program. “For us, we don’t change our approach with kids and our community every time a politician says something,” said Haddad. “We care about our kids 24/7, every day of the week.”