Message from Dr. Stone, Superintendent: Well-being of immigrant students and families in New York school districts

Message from Dr. Stone, Superintendent: Well-being of immigrant students and families in New York school districts

I have been asked to reiterate our position on immigrant students.

Due to increasing concerns for the well-being of immigrant students and families in New York school districts, the New York State Department of Education and the Office of the Attorney General have put out a public reminder message that schools in New York do not identify students by citizenship, and do not communicate with federal government agencies seeking to enforce laws regarding citizenship. The Lakeland Central School District understands that our primary responsibility is to educate and support the children and families living in our school district.  We are proud of the array of ethnicities and cultures that make our schools a much richer learning environment for all.  Each student and each family are an important part of our school community, and will continue to be.

The following is the public notice from the New York State Department of Education and the Office of the Attorney General:

The New York State Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) and the New York State Education Department (“SED”) write today to reaffirm to students, schools, families, and communities across the State of New York that our schools will remain safe havens where all students can learn.

Pursuant to the New York State Education Law, children over five and under twenty-one years of age who have not received a high school diploma are entitled to attend the public schools in the school district in which they reside without paying tuition. Moreover, school districts must ensure that all students within the compulsory school age attend upon full-time instruction.  Undocumented children, like U.S. citizen children, have the right to attend school full-time as long as they meet the age and residency requirements established by state law. Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court held decades ago, in Plyler v. Doe, that school districts may not deny students a free public education on the basis of their undocumented or non-citizen status, or that of their parents or guardians.

As with any circumstance that would distract a student from his or her learning or emotional well-being, please contact your school for support if your student is affected in any way by these issues or has experienced any form of harassment.  Under the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), by our Code of Conduct and by sheer common sense in a school setting, any action that through school investigation is deemed to be harassment, will never be tolerated. 

Sincerely,

George E. Stone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools