Thousand Oaks Acorn: Citizen Talk Taboo for Schools–Law Requires That Even Non-Citizens Be Educated

IRLI In The News

June 15, 2017

By Dawn Megli-Thuna

Since her husband was deported last year, Martha has had plenty to worry about, like keeping food on the table for her two young children. But one thing the Thousand Oaks resident never has to worry about is being asked about her immigration status at her 7-year-old daughter’s school.

Conejo Valley Unified is paying a high price for not inquiring about students’ citizenship status, said Michael Hethmon of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm working to defend the rights and interests of the American people from the negative effects of unlawful immigration.

At last count, 9 percent of CVUSD’s student body, or about 1,700 pupils, are considered English learners, a figure that places a heavy burden on educators, Hethmon said. (It should be noted that not all English learners are undocumented.) Teaching non- English speakers costs considerably more than teaching those who are native speakers, he said.

But school districts have very little leeway when it comes to enforcing immigration statutes even if they wanted to—which CVUSD and others have made clear they do not.

In 1982’s Plyler v. Doe, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a state law that prohibited funding education for undocumented children.

“The Conejo Valley school district is doing what they’re doing because there’s this formidable background they have to deal with at their peril,” Hethmon said. … Read the full story by Dawn Megli-Thuna.

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