Emails recently obtained by Parents Defending Education through a public records request show that an assistant principal asked staff members to raise money for human traffickers, claiming that a student’s family was in danger of being killed if the money was not quickly paid.
According to the Daily Caller, Stefani Harvey, an assistant principal at Mount Pleasant High School, sent an email to staff members earlier this year on Jan. 26, requesting $2,000 for a student who reportedly needed to pay human traffickers in order to avoid retaliation that could endanger their family.
In the email, Harvey told staff members that the student “came to America with ‘Coyote,’” claiming that the group “helps people” in return for a “payment of $5,000” for bringing them into the United States.
“Our student needs our urgent support to raise another $2,000 to meet his goal of $5,000 by February 1st, 2023,” she wrote. “Please consider helping if you can by donating on Friday.”
Parents Defending Education announced Wednesday that the organization recently obtained records of an email exchange on Jan. 6, prior to Harvey’s request for funding. The email obtained by Parents Defending Education shows information a school guidance counselor sent to Harvey.
“When they come illegal, they usually give them a time frame to make a payment of $5000 dollars to those, who bring them illegal,” the guidance counselor wrote. “Our student has been working extra hours to pay them and to support his family in Guatemala. Not ignoring that this kid lives here by himself and has no support from anyone. He only owes $2000 out of the $5000, but if he does not pay that by February 1, they will kill his family in his country.”
According to the National Review, the emails obtained by Parents Defending Education provide evidence that Harvey “consciously solicited donations” just weeks after the guidance counselor contacted her to provide a payment to human traffickers rather than alerting law enforcement of the presumed threat against the student’s family.
Following Harvey’s email requesting donations for the human trafficking organization, Ty’Relle Stephens, a Providence Public School Board member, contacted multiple members of the school’s staff regarding “PR damage,” blaming the media for the backlash against the school.
“The media has portrayed PPSD staff as knowingly aiding and abetting human traffickers, which has incensed right-wing extremists,” Stephens stated. “At this time, if we are able to say unequivocally that that is not the case, let’s make it happen. If we are able to say PPSD staff need more training surrounding illegal immigration, let’s make it happen.”