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Police face backlash from Huntington community over deported student

Community members in Huntington are demanding answers regarding a high school student who was deported over suspected gang ties following information gathered by a school resource officer.

News 12 Staff

Jan 8, 2019, 10:53 AM

Updated 1,966 days ago

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Community members in Huntington are demanding answers regarding a high school student who was deported over suspected gang ties following information gathered by a school resource officer.
For more than an hour Tuesday, concerned Huntington residents fired off questions to police about the role of the the department's school resource officers -- specifically, how and when police put information about students into a police department database and who has access to it.
The renewed concern comes after The New York Times published an article about a former Huntington High school student named Alex. He was deported to Honduras following a decision by a federal immigration judge. He came to the attention of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security after being accused of gang affiliation in school.
In 2017, News 12 reported on Alex and more students in other school districts who were detained by ICE after being accused of gang membership in their high schools. Attorney Bryan Johnson represented many of those students. Johnson says police shared the information with ICE and Homeland Security, which then pursued dozens of people.
Suffolk Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart says because of the community's concerns, the police department added another layer of checks and balances in September 2017. Hart explained that now, if a school resource officer files a field report about a student, it has to be approved by a supervisor before it's entered into the database. She says the commanding officer of the intelligence division then has to give a final approval before that information is released to Homeland Security or an outside agency.
Hart says resource officers have been in Suffolk schools for nearly two decades and she feels it's working. She does plan on having a sit-down meeting with Suffolk's School Superintendents Association to address any further concerns the community or districts may have.


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