Qualitative Study to Understand Adults’ Perceptions of Deportation Fears of Latino Students

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Latino high school students may be experiencing stress due to the fear of deportation, causing a lack of progress in academic, social, and emotional success. The research filled a gap by providing a collective school voice in understanding how the fears of deportation affect Latino students in a high school on the southside of Chicago, Illinois. Ethical leadership was the theoretical foundation of the study to express the role ethics play in making a productive difference in Latino students’ lives. A collective voice of parents, school leaders, teachers, social workers, and counselors discussed how the stressors affect students’ academic, social/emotional learning (SEL), and the school’s role in mitigating the fears. The purpose of the qualitative narrative analysis study was to understand adults’ perceptions on how deportation fears contribute stress to Latino students’ academic, social, and emotional success and how school leaders mitigate the fears. Qualitative narrative analysis was chosen to give voice to the parents and school staff serving the students daily. Data were collected through the triangulation of questionnaires, focus groups, and interviews. Purposive sampling began with a questionnaire given to 30 Latino families and 19 professional school staff serving the Latino students. The participants’ responses from the study’s three instruments revealed students’ fear of deportation of family members leads to trauma and loss of learning in school. In the study’s focus groups and interviews, school staff shared the fears were mitigated by addressing the students’ social, emotional, and academic needs. The recommendation is made to conduct similar research in non-sanctuary cities to include additional parents.