Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools

Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools
 
School Opening Alert
As a new school year begins, this alert is a reminder that public schools, by law, must serve all children.

The education of undocumented students is guaranteed by the Plyler vs. Doe decision and certain procedures must be followed when registering immigrant children in school to avoid violation of their civil rights.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education published in May a letter advising school officials that activities that deny or discourage students to attend school are unlawful. The letter begins, “Under federal law, state and local educational agencies are required to provide all children with equal access to public education at the elementary and secondary level.”

In Plyler vs. Doe, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that children of undocumented workers have the same right to attend public primary and secondary schools as do U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Like other students, children of undocumented workers in fact are required under state laws to attend school until they reach a mandated age.

The Supreme Court arrived at this decision because such practices that deny or discourage immigrant children and families from public schooling:
Victimize innocent children – Children of undocumented workers do not choose the conditions under which they enter the United States. They should not be punished for circumstances they do not control. Children have the right to learn and be useful members of society.

Are counterproductive for the country – Denying children access to education does not eliminate illegal immigration. Instead, it ensures the creation of an underclass. Without public education for children, illiteracy rates will increase and opportunities for workforce and community participation will decrease. Recent research has proven that for every $1 spent on the education of children, at least $9 is returned.

Waste valuable time while losing sight of principal goals of public education – Rather than teaching students, school officials would spend their time asking our millions of school children about their citizenship status. States would be forced to spend millions of dollars to do the work of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Promote misinformation – Incorrect assumptions and inappropriate figures have been used to blame immigrants and their children for economic problems.
Encourage racism and discrimination – In turbulent, financially troubled times, immigration often becomes a focalpoint of public discourse. Many consider a preoccupation with the immigration status of children of undocumented workers to be a form of discrimination and racism.
As a result of the Plyler ruling, public schools may not:
deny admission to a student during initial enrollment or at any other time on the basis of undocumented status;
treat a student differently to determine residency;
engage in any practices to “chill” the right of access to school;
require students or parents to disclose or document their immigration status;
make inquiries of students or parents that may expose their undocumented status; or
require social security numbers from all students, as this may expose undocumented status.

Students without a social security number should be assigned a number generated by the school. Adults without social security numbers who are applying for a free lunch and/or breakfast program for a student need only state on the application that they do not have a social security number.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act prohibits schools from providing any outside agency – including the ICE agency – with any information from a child’s school file that would expose the student’s undocumented status. The only exception is if an agency gets a court order (subpoena) that parents can then challenge. Schools should note that even requesting such permission from parents might act to “chill” a student’s Plyler rights.
Finally, school personnel – especially building principals and those involved with student intake activities – should be aware that they have no legal obligation to enforce U.S. immigration laws.
At IDRA, we are working to strengthen schools to work for all children, families and communities. Help us make this goal a reality for every child; we simply cannot afford the alternatives. Denying children of undocumented workers access to an education is unconstitutional and against the law.

Feel free to copy this alert and share it. You can also visit IDRA’s website for a printable flier in English and Spanish as well as a copy of the letter from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education.
For assistance in ensuring that your programs comply with federal law, you can contact the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section, at 877-292-3804 or education@usdoj.gov, or the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at 800-421-3481 or ocr@ed.gov. You may also contact the OCR enforcement office that serves your area.

For more information or to report incidents of school exclusion or delay, call:
META (Nationwide) 617- 628-2226
MALDEF (Los Angeles) 213-629-2512
MALDEF (San Antonio) 210-224-5476
NY Immigration Hotline (Nationwide) 212-419-3737
MALDEF (Chicago) 312-427-0701
MALDEF (Washington, D.C.) 202-293-2828
Printable versions of this alert are online in English and Spanish.
Derechos de los estudiantes inmigrantes a asistir a escuelas públicas
 
Llamada Urgente durante el Comienzo del Curso Escolar
La educación de los estudiantes indocumentados está garantizada por la decisión Doe vs. Plyler o que ciertos procedimientos se deben seguir al inscribir a los niños inmigrantes en la escuela para evitar la violación de sus derechos civiles. No se les puede negar el derecho a una educación de calidad.
El Departamento de Justicia de EE.UU. y el Departamento de Educación de EE.UU., ha publicado y distribuido una carta aconsejando a administradores de escuela que el negar o disuadir a estudiantes indocumentado o de padres indocumentados es ilegal y contra este dictamen legal. La carta comienza así: “Bajo la ley federal, agencias educativas tanto estatales como locales están obligadas a proporcionar a todo niño la igualdad de acceso a la educación pública a nivel de primaria y secundaria.”
El Tribunal Supremo de los Estados Unidos, en el caso Doe vs. Plyler, dictaminó que los niños de padres indocumentados tienen el mismo derecho de asistir a las escuelas públicas primarias y secundarias que tienen sus contrapartes de nacionalidad estadounidense. Al igual que los demás niños, los estudiantes indocumentados están obligados a asistir a la escuela hasta que llegan a la edad exigida por la ley.
El Tribunal Supremo llegó a esta decisión debido a prácticas que niegan o desalentan a niños inmigrantes indocumentados y sus familias de la escuela pública:
Son niños indefensos. Los niños de los trabajadores indocumentados son indefensos y esperan la protección de una ley justa y compasiva. Ellos no eligieron venir a este país o las condiciones en que están en los Estados Unidos. No es justo castigar a un niño indefenso; es mas, tiene derecho a aprender y ser útil a la sociedad.
Es contraproducente para el país. El negar a estos niños el acceso a la educación no elimina la inmigración ilegal, sino que crea una subclase económica en el país. Aumentarán las tasas de analfabetismo y se reducirá la participación de éstos en las comunidades donde viven. Según las investigaciones, cada dólar que se invierte en la educación de estos niños tiene un rendimiento de por lo menos de nueve dólares en beneficios para el país.
Es tiempo valioso que se pierde cuando perdemos la meta principal de la escuela. Se pierde mucho tiempo, que se podría emplear mejor en la educación de estos niños, cuando los educadores se enfocan en determinar la ciudadanía de cada estudiante. Esa no es la responsabilidad del educador. El educador conciente de su responsabilidad no tiene el tiempo ni debe permitir que se le agregue esta responsabilidad.
Cuidado con la información incorrecta. La distribución de suposiciones y cifras incorrectas ha causado mucho daño y creado un ambiente de incertidumbre y fricción entre grupos de ciudadanos.
¿Es acaso un síntoma de racismo y discriminación? Estamos viviendo en una época de mucha discordia y dificultades económicas en este país. Siempre que esto sucede renace esta preocupación por la inmigración que muchos consideran como racismo y discriminación.
A raíz de la decisión Plyler, las escuelas públicas no pueden:
negarle la matrícula a un estudiante basándose en su situación legal y/o inmigratoria, ya sea a principios del curso o durante el año escolar;
tratar a un estudiante en forma desigual verificando la situación de residencia de ciertos estudiantes;
promover prácticas cuyo resultado es negar el derecho de acceso a los servicios escolares;
requerir que un estudiante o sus padres revelen o documenten su situación inmigratoria;
hacer interrogatorios a estudiantes o padres que pudieran revelar su situación de indocumentados;
exigir que un estudiante obtenga un número de seguro social como requisito de admisión a la escuela.
La escuela debe de asignar un número de identificación a los estudiantes que no tienen tarjeta de seguro social. Los adultos sin números de seguro social que necesitan almuerzo y/o desayuno gratis sólo tienen que indicar que no tienen seguro social. Allí debe terminar.
Además, el Acta Familiar de Derechos y Privacidad Escolar (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) le prohibe a las escuelas proveer a cualquier agencia externa – incluyendo la agencia ICE – cualquier información del archivo personal de un estudiante que pudiera revelar su estado legal. La única excepción es cuando una agencia obtiene una orden judicial – conocida como una citación o subpoena – que los padres pueden apelar o retar. El mero hecho de pedirle tal permiso a los padres podría violar los derechos reconocidos por Doe vs. Plyler.
Finalmente, el personal escolar – especialmente los directores y otros administradores o personal docente – deben saber que no están bajo ninguna obligación legal de poner en vigor las leyes de inmigración de los EEUU.
En IDRA, nos unimos a educadores para fortalecer a las escuelas a proveer la igualdad de oportunidad y practicar equitativamente un programa de instrucción para todos los niños, familias y comunidades. Ayúdenos a hacer de este objetivo una realidad para todos los niños. Negando a los niños el acceso a la educación es inconstitucional y en contra de la ley.
Siéntase libre de copiar esta alerta y compartirla. También puede visitar el sitio web de IDRA para imprimir un folleto en inglés y en español, así como una copia de la carta del Departamento de Justicia de EE.UU. y el Departamento de Educación de EE.UU.
Para más asistencia para garantizar que sus programas cumplen con la ley federal, usted puede comunicarse con el Departamento de Justicia, División de Derechos Civiles, Sección de Oportunidades Educativas, en el 877-292-3804 o education@usdoj.gov, o la Oficina del Departamento de Educación para los Derechos Civiles (OCR) en el 800-421-3481 o ocr@ed.gov. También puede comunicarse con la oficina de aplicación de OCR que sirve a su área.
Para más información, o para denunciar incidentes de exclusión escolar o retraso en la admisión a clases, favor de llamar a:
META (Nationwide) 617- 628-2226
MALDEF (Los Angeles) 213-629-2512
MALDEF (San Antonio) 210-224-5476
NY Immigration Hotline (Nationwide) 212-419-3737
MALDEF (Chicago) 312-427-0701
MALDEF (Washington, D.C.) 202-293-2828

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Are Pregnant Teens in Minnesota Still Being Shuffled Away From School?

August 29, 2011

http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/21914-1

ST. PAUL, Minn. – When most people hear the words “Title IX,” they think of the requirement for equality of the sexes in school sports, but the law has other implications, as well. Brigid Riley, executive director of Teenwise Minnesota, says because of Title IX, schools must provide the same educational opportunities for all – including teens who have kids or are pregnant.

“In reality, what happens in so many districts is that, if a girl becomes pregnant, she is strongly encouraged to head off to an alternative learning center.”

Riley says an alternative school is fine, if it has all the same academic and extracurricular offerings or if the pregnant teen chooses that option.

“But if they’re told ‘That’s where all of the pregnant girls go, that’s what you have to do,’ or even if it’s sort of an unspoken message, that’s not setting up a very fair education opportunity.”

Riley says it is an issue that has evolved over the decades. For example, in the 1950s most girls who got pregnant would “kind of disappear” and then give their baby away, she says.

“Now, so many girls keep their babies and raise them themselves, and it’s still hard for schools. It just seems like a failure, not only on the girl’s part, but on the school’s part, as well.”

Riley says pregnant teens may just be the student population that most needs to stay in school and get an education.

“When girls don’t graduate, there is often a lifetime of negative consequences. We really do want them to graduate, especially because they are usually the head of a new, young family.”

Teenwise Minnesota has been partnering with the National Women’s Law Center and the Minnesota Department of Education to host summits for school districts to learn about all of the implications of Title IX.

There were nearly 6,000 teen pregnancies in Minnesota in 2009.

John Michaelson, Public News Service – MN
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Obama’s Regulations on Sexual Assualt for College Campuses

 As the young feminist professor of Psychology and Gender Studies on campus, very often when a woman gets sexually assaulted, she comes to me.  This is part of my job, yet it devastates me every time it happens.  And it happens a lot.

I am on a community college campus mostly, and so I do not see what I know the traditional universities do.  Although I did see it as an undergrad and as a grad student, when my friends were the victims.

The young co-ed has the least amount of power and the highest amount to lose on a college campus.  She has to muster incredible amounts of courage and anger to be there in the first place.  Often, the male (alleged) perpetrator has a lawyer who then shreds the young woman, and even if she does show her case to be strong, the jury has to be able to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that something happened.  This is tricky in “he said /she said” cases.  She often loses, drops out of school and tries to get on with her life.

She is broken, and there isn’t anything I or other women can do to fix her, except cry with her.

He, on the other hand, often stays in school, graduates and then does it again.  Research shows that repeat offenders actually account for a significant number of sexual assaults on campus.  The campus adjudicators do not believe this, and it is because word gets around.  The second victim is less likely to come forward because she knows nothing was done the first time, or worse, thinks it is her fault because she had heard rumors about this guy and dated him anyway.

This isn’t just my experience.  The Center for Public Intergrity also reports many cited and reported incidents like this.  In addition, they say that students found “responsible” for alleged sexual assaults on campuses often face little or no punishment.  Administrators believe the sanctions administered by the college judicial system are a thoughtful and effective way to hold abusive students accountable, but the Center’s investigation has discovered that “responsible” findings rarely lead to tough punishment like expulsion, even in cases involving alleged repeat offenders.

This is the sentence that gets me: Authorities are often slow to realize they have such “undetected rapists” in their midst.

So I cheered and clapped when I read about the Obama Administration’s new rules under the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) requiring universities to thoroughly investigate sexual assault accusations.  The accused is no longer allowed to cross-examine the accuser, and the judiciary panel determining the guilt or innocence of the accused is no longer subject to the same “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.  Thank God someone gets it.  For a minute I felt really good about the projected status of Women on our American campuses.

And then Peter Berkowitz from the Wall Street Journal threw his opinion out there.  He stamped his little foot and cried “unfair to the accused.”  That this is now “an assumption of male guilt.”  And the colleges now must abandon all pretense of due process in sexual assault cases.

Mr. Berkowitz?  There has never been anything BUT a pretense of due process around sexual assault on the college campus, except that the assumption of guilt was on WOMEN.  You are crying foul because “the liberals” are trying to level the playing field for women?

Berkowitz goes on with this quote:

“On campus, where casual sex is celebrated and is frequently fueled by alcohol, the ambiguity that often attends sexual encounters is heightened and the risk of error in rape cases is increased. The consequences for a wrongly convicted student are devastating: Not only is he likely to be expelled, but he may well be barred from graduate or professional school and certain government agencies, suffer irreparable damage to his reputation, and still be exposed to criminal prosecution.”

So let me get this straight: it is okay for women to be treated this way, but not men. Let me tell you, that I have yet to have a women who was raped be unclear that she was assaulted. Sounds like Mr. Berkowitz never participated in drunken college sex, but I did.  I was really really clear about how I felt the next morning, who was in the room with me, and why.  Furthermore, are you saying that because college students party and that there is alcohol present that rape does not occur, just the likelihood of a mistake? Because you might want to get your facts straight.  This is when it is most likely to occur, not because the girl is drinking, but because the guy does not take no for an answer, or uses drugs to keep her unable to say no.

We do know from a national survey of college men that 35% of them are likely to rape someone if they thought they could get away with it.

THERE, dear Sir, is your assumption of male guilt.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/obamas-regulations-on-sexual-assualt-for-college-campuses.html#ixzz1W7qxL41L

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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request Form

FOIA Request Form

Use this form to request U.S. Department of Education records or information.

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Bullying: Tips on Ways to Stop it When You See it.

When you see a student picking on another student, do you send the bully at once to the principal’s office, or do you reprimand them right there and then in front of others?

DuPont Sustainable Solutions’ training DVD, Bullying Prevention: Taking Action shows what you and your staff can do when you personally witness a bullying incident:
1. Stand between the bully and the victim.
This blocks eye contact between them, preventing any further escalation. This also shows the bully that you and your staff are protecting students.

2. Never send any student away and never ask “What’s going on here?”
Just state the behaviors you saw/heard and remind everyone that bullying is unacceptable and against school rules.
3.Do not discuss the matter in front of others and do not make a bully apologize.
This gives the target time to regain self-control and “save face.”
4.Never have the bully and the victim meet to “work things out.”
Bullying involves a power imbalance. Trying to “work things out” can retraumatize the target and usually doesn’t improve relationships.

What do you do next? Bullying Prevention: Taking Action shows your staff ways they can:
     • Talk to and discipline the bully
     • Console and protect the victims
     • Cultivate an anti-bullying culture
     • Address witnesses to the bullying
     • Confer with the parents of both the victim and the bully
     • Suggest intervention strategies in and out of school.

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