Feds Remind School Districts That Every Child, Here Legally Or Not, Is Entitled To A Public Education
The letter comes amid reports that schools may be checking the immigration status of students trying to enroll, and it reminds districts they are federally prohibited from barring elementary or secondary students on the basis of citizenship status.
“Moreover, districts may not request information with the purpose or result of denying access to public schools on the basis of race, color or national origin,” said the letter, which was signed by officials from the department’s Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Justice.
Discrimination against Latino students in Durham County, NC, and a complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, spurred on the letter.
The organization claims discrimination against Latino students. In one instance, a girl attempting to enroll in a district high school was asked for her passport and visa and was told that if she didn’t have one, she must be an illegal alien, said attorney Jerri Katzerman.
Since the days of Ronald Reagan, all students has been guaranteed a public education, even if they were not legally in the country.
A 1982 Supreme Court case, Plyler v. Doe, held that states cannot deny students access to public education, whether they are in the U.S. legally or not. The court ruled that denying public education could impose a lifetime of hardship “on a discrete class of children not accountable for their disabling status.”
After all, isn’t a public education for every child in America one of the things that make this country great?Click here for reuse options!
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