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ADVOCACY GROUPS SUPPORT NJ ED DEPARTMENT EFFORTS TO ENSURE EDUCATION FOR IMMIGRANT CHILDREN, URGE ADDITIONAL STEPS

Newark NJ -- November 4

The American Civil Liberties Union of NJ (ACLU) and the NJ Immigration Policy Network (NJIPN) submitted a letter to Acting Commissioner of Education Rochelle Hendricks on November 1 commending her for reminding school districts that "domicile and age are the only factors to determine eligibility for a free public education."

The letter also requests that the NJ Department of Education (DOE) undertake additional measures to make sure that school districts across the state follow the long-established law and do not require information that could reveal immigration status as part of the student registration process.

The letter was co-signed by three dozen organizations, including the Education Law Center (ELC). Read the full text of the letter and the ACLU "Quick Reference for School Personnel: What You Can and Cannot Ask of Students Registering for School" here .

"ELC has long supported the legal right of undocumented immigrant children to attend public school," said Ruth Lowenkron, ELC Senior Attorney. "We applaud the ACLU and NJIPN for bringing this continuing problem to the attention of the Education Department and urging appropriate action to ensure that all children receive the education they need and deserve."

The letter to Acting Commissioner Hendricks notes that the ACLU conducted a survey of over 500 school districts in 2008, and learned that as many as one in three did not comply with federal and state law, which protects the rights of every child between the ages of 5 and 20 to attend public school regardless of their immigration status.

Noting that several of the organizations that signed on to the letter have received complaints that districts continue to request inappropriate information during the registration process, the letter recommends that the Quick Reference Guide be distributed to all schools, and that the DOE monitor district compliance with the law.

Education Law Center Press Contact:
Sharon Krengel
Policy & Outreach Coordinator
email: skrengel@edlawcenter.org
voice: 973 624-1815 x24