Statement of Support of RBR Dreamers

Posted by Dr. Louis Moore on 9/11/2023

We are blessed at Red Bank Regional to be a school with a large population of immigrant students, including those who are undocumented. In addition, we are thankful to the members of the RBR Dreamers Club, who have led efforts to improve understanding, promote inclusiveness, and advocate for needed reform.


We are also grateful for the outstanding leadership of their advisor Mrs. Marisol Mondaca, who led efforts to establish the club and volunteered her time for many years before the Dreamers were officially recognized.


Recently a controversy has emerged because one of the five members of the Board of Education present for the meeting on August 16 rejected my recommendation that Mrs. Mondaca be reappointed. Because RBR has a nine-member board, five votes are required for any resolution item to pass regardless of how many members are in attendance. On August 16, four BOE members supported my recommendation; one did not and this, unfortunately, was enough to overrule the majority vote.


It is inspiring to see the way our students are standing up for themselves and others amidst the current dispute. While I am proud of their efforts, I am not surprised. I have been a long-standing and committed supporter of the Dreamers. My recommendation that they be recognized as an official district club was approved by the Board in September 2021. Even before attaining this status, they actively worked to support immigrant students, RBR families, and participate in valuable service projects that benefitted our entire school community.

In 1855 a depressed Abraham Lincoln wrote to his friend Joshua Speed about the growing popularity of the Know-Nothings, an anti-immigrant political party that was rapidly gaining support. “As a nation, we begin by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ ... When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘All men are created equal, except Negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty--to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure.”


Virtually all Americans are immigrants or the children of immigrants but periodically misplaced anger and bigotry have influenced attitudes toward immigrants and distorted understandings of the positive role that immigrants play in American life. Regretfully, The Know Nothing impulse is still with us.


I urge my colleagues on the Board of Education to reflect on their roles as community leaders, to set an example for empathy and understanding, and to strike a blow against the dark forces that Lincoln deplored so many years ago. I am hopeful that the Board of Education will approve my recommendation to re-appoint their club advisor, Mrs. Mondaca, so that the Dreamers can carry out their vital role here at RBR. The Dreamers deserve the unanimous support of the Board of Education tonight and at all times.