Students Have Right to Education Regardless of Immigration Status
March 24, 2017
Filed under News
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Students at UC High and all over the country are concerned about issues of immigration status and deportation; however, the San Diego Unified School District [SDUSD] would like students to know their rights as students.
In an email from Superintendent Cindy Marten, all teachers within the SDUSD were informed (in case they did not previously know) that the constitutional right of every student is to an education, regardless of immigration status.
She continued to explain the policies which prohibit immigration from playing any role in whether a student has a right an education: “In 1982, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that undocumented students have a constitutional right to a free public education. Federal law prohibits the district from discriminating against undocumented students, requesting information regarding a student’s immigration status, or requiring proof of legal status as a condition of enrollment.”
Marten also mentioned that any ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) disturbance on a school campus needs to be handled directly with the school police. “The district believes that the presence of ICE is likely to lead to a disruption of the educational setting and will not permit immigration raids or other activities on campus that disturb the school setting,” she explained.
Any release of student records is prohibited as well, according to Marten. “The district is also committed to maintaining the confidentiality rights of students under the Family Educational Rights and Protection Act (“FERPA”). This law prohibits the release of student records without parental consent, including information which might indicate immigration status, unless mandated by law.”
Nonetheless, according to an online news site, in President Trump’s new updated travel ban (March 6), any immigration coming from six prodominantly Muslim countries will be barred from entering the country. In the new executive order, Trump removed Iraq from the previous list. In reference to how this will affect education, students from these countries should take extreme caution before any sort of travel (theatlantic.com).
According to Marten, if any student or parent has questions regarding these policies or has been approached by an ICE agent, they should contact Legal Services. For resources for families, they should contact the Family and Community Engagement Department.
“When he [Trump] deports families, he ruins education as well. It’s not just about the students. When parents are sent back, they lose the support structure they need to succeed. It’s unfair to everyone,” said Senior Micaela Cunningham.
According to Marten, in regards to divulging personal information to teachers, neither students nor their families can be reported to immigration by any SDUSD personnel.
“It’s great that we are trying to be a sanctuary for those students, and I hope San Diego can become a sanctuary city like Los Angeles,” Cunningham finished.
One UC High junior who wishes to remain anonymous stated, “Although I was born in the US, my parents are illegal, so knowing immigration rights is important to my family. The climate in the county right now can be scary, and it’s important that students and parents be informed.”