San Diego School Board Fans Flames of Immigration Debate, Some Residents Say

San Diego's school board is fanning the flames of the national immigration debate, some residents of the California border city complained Wednesday after the Unified School District passed a resolution the night before condemning Arizona's controversial new immigration law.

The resolution, which passed unanimously, restricts school employees from traveling to Arizona on official business.

The school board eliminated a travel warning proposed by President Richard Berrera that would have cautioned parents and students about traveling to Arizona due to fears they might be targeted by racial profiling or harassment. Instead, the board voted 5-0 to develop a policy "restricting travel and participation in conferences" in Arizona.

Sheila Boling, a senior clerk who has worked in the district's facilities, planning and construction department since 2001, said she attended the hearing to voice her disapproval of the resolution, which condemns the Arizona law as unconstitutional and urges state lawmakers to repeal it.

"I attended because I felt the school board needs to be focused on what they're paid and hired to do -- which is to focus on education," Boling told "They have no authority or jurisdiction on matters in another state and they certainly have no authority to give directions to parents....

"This simply was not the time and place to do this," said Boling, whose three adult children graduated from the district. "People have enough concerns on their plate, like whether they're going to have a job or if there will be enough teachers in the classroom.

"They do not need to be further divided by focusing on something that is neither here nor there at this time in San Diego."

No formal complaints by parents of current students had been received in connection to the resolution as of early Wednesday, district spokesman Jack Brandais told Approximately 20 people attended the hourlong evening hearing.

Roughly 75 percent of the San Diego Unified School District's 130,000 students are "people of color," and 44 percent are Hispanic, according to the resolution, which reads:

"The law undermines fundamental civil rights and civil liberties, and poses a special threat to people of color who live in and travel through Arizona. Public officials in Arizona are asserting that undocumented immigrants can be identified by the clothes they wear and the way they speak, and are using stereotypes as proxies for race which will inevitably lead to racial profiling."...

"We need humane and workable solutions, not an irrational and irresponsible response to our broken immigration system, and we need solutions that help our state and our country move forward together rather than divide us apart."

"We elected the school board of this city to educate our kids," Rev. David Brown told San Diego's He could not be reached for further comment.

Another opponent of the resolution described it as "divisive," the website reported.

Meanwhile, Kathi Pastor, a teacher who attended the hearing, applauded the resolution.

"Many say we should not get involved in Arizona's law," said Pastor, as reported in the San Diego Union-Tribune. "The Civil War was fought about other states' laws."

Arizona's new immigration law, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer last month, will allow law enforcement to question anyone on their immigration status if stopped for reasonable cause when it goes into effect in July. Several officials in the Obama administration, including Attorney General Eric Holder, have criticized the law.