Metro Schools: Claim of ICE school visit was unconfirmed

generic - ICE agents
Posted at 12:36 PM, Nov 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-04 20:33:55-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville Public Schools said they shouldn't have described two men they say sought student records at a school as "immigration officials" without confirming they were.

Back in October, Metro Schools said "immigration officials" requested student records from Una Elementary School. The district said the school did not release any records to those officials, per policy.

At the time, the district described "two men in official-looking uniforms" "stating that they were government agents" with "official-looking IDs" who "had a list of student names and demanded those students' records."

However, on Monday, district spokeswoman Olivia Brown said the school’s staff haven't been able to recall when it happened, and the district hasn't found video or other records because the date remains uncertain. The school's staff says it was "either in the spring or early fall of 2019."

Brown says the school didn't document the incident, copy their badges or record the men's information before turning them away.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also said there was no evidence or record of that visit happening.

Read more: No record of agents requesting information from Metro elementary school, ICE says

Read the full MNPS response below:

"There have been many questions raised regarding reports of two male visitors to Una Elementary who requested student information. While there remain unanswered questions due to the amount of time that has passed, after numerous contacts with school staff, here is what we know:"

· "Several staff reported two men came to Una Elementary during a school day; we have been unable to determine the date but school staff believe it was either in the spring or early fall of 2019. These men presented identification (believed to be a badge) and requested student address information. They were told that information could not be released. According to staff, the men represented themselves as being from “the government.” The men left when the school told the men that the school could not release this information without permission. The school took appropriate action."

· "The school did not document these visitors, copy their badges, or record their information. Schools have many visitors, and the visitor log is generally used when visitors enter the main area of the school and is generally not used when visitors only enter the office lobby."

· "Although not initially reported to principal supervisors, this visit was brought to light to district officials during an internal meeting in the 2019-20 school year. Following that internal discussion, district leadership sent guidance to all schools on responding to requests for student information. We also provided training to our principals through partnership with local nonprofits."

· "Because we do not have a date and because this visit was some time ago, we have been unable to locate video or other records that show the men entering the school."

· "When contacted by media regarding this incident, information provided was that these men were from “immigration.” This was the belief of the school staff and district based on the information shared about the incident, but we recognize that this description of the individuals requesting information should not have been shared with the media as a statement of fact without obtaining further confirmation. At no time did the district seek to call out this visit and we have made every effort to answer questions honestly and accurately with the information available at the time."

· "Going forward, we will continue to engage with our partners to ensure that schools are prepared for how to handle similar types of situations."