Idaho officials say buses transporting migrant workers' children are being harassed

Idaho officials say buses transporting migrant workers' children are being harassed
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Idaho officials said Tuesday that drivers have been following and harassing buses transporting children of seasonal and migrant workers to early childhood education programs, the Idaho Statesman reported.

In response to the abuse, the Community Council of Idaho plans to remove and conceal the "Migrant and Seasonal Head Start" signs on buses.

The council's Head Start program serves roughly 800 children every year at 10 centers across the state.

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“It’s really heartbreaking, because they’re children,” Sonnay Alvarez, a spokesperson for the council said, according to the Statesman. “They don’t understand what hate is."

The program staff said the abuse hurled at the buses may come from the mistaken belief that the children's parents are illegal immigrants.

“Migrant doesn’t necessarily mean ‘illegal,’” Alvarez told the Statesman, referring to the signs on the buses that will now be concealed.

“Migrant means people move in search of work, which is what our program is. We have people who might move from East Idaho to Caldwell because of the work that they’re in,” he added.

Alvarez said the reports of harassment affected the staff so badly that there were brief discussions about renaming the programs entirely.

“But that’s the name of the program,” Alvarez said, according to the Statesman. “People just shouldn’t be offensive to our buses or our kids. For now, we are going to cover it up.”