On Thursday morning a law enforcement officer was sent to a local elementary school to pick up a 9-year-old boy who was in this country illegally. He and his family were to be deported to Mexico.
A school administrator asked the officer to wait in the office as she went to the classroom to retrieve the fourth-grader.
The administrator escorted the student into the hallway, and, with all the compassion of a mother, explained what was about to happen. The principal assured the child he would be safe and reunited with his family. The educator then asked if the student wished to say goodbye to his friends or teachers before he left.
The frightened child shook his head "no" and was taken to the officer, who transported him to awaiting immigration agents.
During a time of heated tempers over the immigration debate that has divided our country, this incident at our elementary school is a vivid reminder that everyone is a human being, deserving of compassion and understanding.
On Monday, a rally was held in Phoenix that attracted tens of thousands of marchers protesting federal legislation that would criminalize undocumented workers. During the rally, news crews captured images of angry observers spitting vicious, demoralizing and foul remarks at the peaceful marchers, many of whom were children.
These angry faces, projected across the screen of the evening news were the faces of people who seemed to have forgotten the very foundation of human decency.
Ironically, these faces are the descendants of immigrants who came in waves only generations ago from Ireland, Germany, Russia and beyond. Whatever the differences may be in immigration law, the story of a family "coming to America" is the same. At no other time does the biblical rule, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" seem more apt.
At the elementary school, that rule was never forgotten as teachers and administrators witnessed a young child's life change dramatically, through no fault of his own.