Immigration, Transgender Guidance Issued by N.Y. Education Officials
School districts in the state had requested guidance in responding to policy changes under President Donald Trump.
New York education officials sent letters to school districts regarding recent changes to federal immigration and transgender policies.
The State Education Department and Attorney General instructed districts to uphold the rights of immigrant and transgender students in separate letters, according to The Buffalo News.
The letters are a response to school district requests for guidance on how to handle the federal government’s recent changes in policy stance under President Donald Trump.
Last week, state officials told school districts they must allow transgender students to use bathrooms that identify with their gender identity under state law. That letter came after President Donald Trump’s administration removed Obama-era guidelines providing similar instruction.
This week, state officials sent a letter to district officials reminding them that undocumented immigrant students have a right to attend school full time between the ages of 5 and 21 under state law. The letter also informed district officials that they aren’t allowed to release personal information about students under the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Except in certain circumstances, law enforcement officers are forbidden from interrogating students or removing them from school property without a parent’s consent in New York.
The letters advised school officials to immediately contact their district’s superintendent and to seek legal counsel should immigration officials come to their school.
“Our immigrant students have a right to a free education and they must not fear retribution for themselves or family members simply because they attend school,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Alia said. “As education and law enforcement leaders, it is imperative that we protect all students as well as the information we have about them to the fullest extent possible under the law.”
Two recent raids in New York by federal officials led to the detention of 32 people, stoking fears about deportations in the state.