Border Patrol's career fair visit canceled

Posted at 6:45 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-10 21:45:42-05

SAN DIEGO - Some students at a local high school are fighting against learning about a well-paying career that is hiring in their own backyard.

10News learned on Tuesday -- two days before a career fair at Lincoln High School -- an appearance by the Border Patrol was abruptly canceled.

"This makes no sense at all," said education reform advocate Sally Smith, who informed 10News of the cancelation.

Smith said students interested in law enforcement wanted the Border Patrol there, and the teacher leading the event extended the invite.

Smith told 10News several teachers objected, citing the impact of the Border Patrol's presence on some students.

San Diego Unified School District officials said a group of students brought their concerns to the principal.

Minorities make up a vast majority of the student population; about 63 percent of the student body is Hispanic.

"There's a lot of trauma associated with immigration raids and separation from family. The sight of the Border Patrol in the school zone I think will bring up feelings of uneasiness and fear," said Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee.

School district officials said the two sides mutually agreed to cancel the appearance.

In a statement, the Border Patrol said that "a few staff members protested against our presence" and the agency "was asked by the principal … not to attend the school function … in order to avoid any further controversy on campus and among staff and students."

"It's a disservice to students to ban Border Patrol because it offers so many career opportunities," said Smith.

A school district spokesperson said a field trip will now be scheduled to visit the Border Patrol for any students interested. They also plan a school forum with the Border Patrol to discuss the issues raised with the career fair.

SD Unified officials issued this statement:


"San Diego Unified is focused on preparing all students for success in their choice of college and career in conjunction with valuing and promoting diversity. Lincoln High School and the Border Patrol collaborated on a plan that takes into account the interest of all students at the high school. It's a win-win for students."

Some call that solution inadequate.

"To ban the Border Patrol is not something students should be learning. It's disrespectful to ban law enforcement," said Smith.