Fear Accompanies Kids to Today's First Day of School in the SAISD

Today is the first day of class in the San Antonio ISD, as local school districts prepare to ramp up for the fall semester, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

But in the overwhelmingly Hispanic SAISD, teachers and students say there is a sense of 'fear' this August which is more than just the usual back to school jitters.

The fear is prompted by the El Paso gunman, who admitted to police that he was specificially targetign Hispanics at the Walmart, on top of a major escalation in Immigration arrests, mainly the massive ICE raids on food processing plants in Mississippi.

"We have many students who have family members who are undocumented," said Shelly Potter, the head of the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers. "Both of these events in the last week are really impacting our children."

And, when children are nervous, they are not learning.

"Those kids of things impact students when they come to school," she said. "They don't just leave all of that at the classroom door."

More than 80% of the students in the SAISD are Hispanic, and many of them come from homes where at least one family members is undocumented. Potter says the students are afraid that the sort of ICE raids that resulted in hundreds of arrests in Mississippi will take place at schools, or that parents or other relatives who drop them off at school will be detained.

The anti Sanctuary City bill, approved by the Texas Legislature in 2017, which requires local police, including ISD police, to 'cooperate' with immigration officials, is adding to the fear, because students know that SAISD police could be working with immigration officials.

And then there is the El Paso shooting, in which the gunman said he was 'trying to kill Hispanics.' Already, in Norway, there has been another gunman who has said he was 'inspired' by the El Paso gunman.

Potter says it makes for an even tougher than normal first day back to school.

"The attack on the Latino community in the form of the El Paso massacre, the ICE raids on the first day of school in Mississippi, have many of our families on edge," she said.

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