NC immigrant children to gain access to public schools

On May 13, 2014,  Dr. June St. Clair Atkinson, the North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Philip W. Price, the Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Public Instruction, sent North Carolina’s public school system welcome and necessary guidance on enrolling students without regard to their immigration status or national origin. As the guidance says, with very limited exceptions, students under age 21 without a high school diploma are eligible to attend public school in the district where they live. Immigration status, language skills, and academic level do not change that fact. In other words, students cannot be kept out of school because “they are too old” or “they lack credits” or “English language skills,” and schools cannot deny or delay registration while schools validate students’ documents.
The new guidance comes after the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, together with the North Carolina Justice Center, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, and the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a complaint with the Department of Justice on behalf of North Carolina students who were delayed or denied registration in public schools for reasons that were pretexts for national origin discrimination. The guidance also comes after the Department of Justice released guidance on May 8 that also reminds schools of students right to attend public schools without regard to their immigration status.
The Southern Coalition for Social Justice applauds the Department of Public Instruction for its initiative in promoting access to education for all of North Carolina’s students.
NC Registration and Enrollment Guidance Letter_2014