Rhode Island Assistant Principal Asks for Donations to Help Illegal-Immigrant Student Pay Human Trafficker

An assistant principal at Mount Pleasant High School in Providence, R.I., sent an email to the school’s teachers and students on Thursday asking them to donate thousands of dollars to pay a human trafficker who had recently smuggled a student into the United States illegally.

“We have a student who came to America with ‘Coyote’, which is a group that helps people. This group gives you a time frame to make a payment of $5000 to those, who bring them into the states.” Assistant Principal Stefani Harvey wrote in an email addressed to faculty and students.

“Our student needs our urgent support to raise another $2,000 to meet his goal of $5,000 by February 1st, 2023,” Harvey added in the letter.

A representative of the Providence Teachers Union confirmed an interview with local radio host Matt Allen that the email was indeed sent on Thursday night.

Maribeth Calabro, the president of the union, confessed to Allen that she actually first heard of the email through his radio show. Calabro, a teacher herself, spoke to some Mount Pleasant teachers, who confirmed that Harvey had sent the email.

“I was a little taken aback by the contents and fully and completely understanding of your reaction,” Calabro told Allen. “I engaged the district. I called leadership in the district.”

Addressing rumors that the email may have been hacked or a farce, Calabro confirmed that teachers at the school “realized quite quickly that it was not a hack or a misrepresentation or a joke.”

The revelations prompted the school’s principal, Tiffany Delaney, to respond to the controversy Friday morning.

“I was informed there was an email seeking financial support for one of our students. I appreciated the faculty and staff contributing to a cause that supports a student, but the nature of the request is not appropriate,” Delaney wrote in an email.

Delaney, however, failed to point out that so-called coyotes are human traffickers who prey on the vulnerable, not “a group that helps people,” as Harvey suggested.

Across stretches of northern Mexico that border the United States, local guides known as coyotes — often closely associated with drug cartels and other criminal rings — will help migrants seeking to illegally enter America for a fee. Migrants seeking passage with coyotes experience high rates of sexual violence and sometimes die or are seriously injured as a result of neglect and poor conditions.

American citizens also participate in human trafficking operations stateside, accounting for three-quarters of federal convictions of human smuggling, according to Bloomberg.

Dozens of people were trapped and died in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio in June 2022 trying to enter the United States illegally.

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