NYCLU Cites NY School Districts Over "Illegal Barriers For Immigrant Children"
By Dave Lucas
Albany, NY – The New York Civil Liberties Union recently released findings that the school registration requirements in at least 20 percent of public school districts across New York State may be unlawfully barring or discouraging the enrollment of immigrant students. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
The NYCLU wrote the 139 offending school districts to educate them about the law, as well as the New York State Education Department, which it claims has been aware of the situation for at least 10 months but has failed to act. Close to 30 years ago, the US Supreme court ruled that undocumented children have the same right as all other children, to a free public school education. The courts reasoning was that anything less than that would create a permanent disadvantaged underclass. Jonathan Burman, Spokesman for the NYS Education Department, responded to a request for comment by email --- in which he promises --- "The State Education Department... will issue new guidance to all school districts clarifying their legal obligations regarding the registration of students, particularly with regard to immigration status."
NYSED officials say the agency is working on those guidelines now and expect they will be issued by the start of school in September.