OUR DISTRICT: Protecting Immigrant Families, Educating All Children
At Hartford Public Schools, we have a duty to protect our children and families regardless of immigration status, and provide to them an excellent, equitable education. We understand that the promise of educational opportunities draws immigrant families to our schools, and that they entrust us with the care of their children as they do their best to attain their highest hopes and dreams.
Director of School Climate and Culture for Hartford Public Schools Mario Florez states that, “Hartford Public Schools will ensure that the children in our schools are provided with a safe and nurturing learning environment, regardless of the political climate of our country. We will protect them and their families from discrimination, harassment, and fear mongering. We will stand by them should they face adversity as a pillar of support, love, and respect.”
In the United States, a child’s right to free public education is protected by Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982), which holds that a State may not deny access to a free public education to any child residing in the State, whether present in the United States as a documented immigrant or otherwise. This legal precedent covers all children and youth between ages of 5 and 21 who have not yet received a high school diploma.
Wendy D. Cervantes, Senior Policy Analyst, and Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice Advocate for the Center for Law and Social Policy at Georgetown University, says: “Immigrant families should know that they still have rights and that schools will continue to be safe spaces. Teachers and school staff are available to connect immigrant families to information to support their child’s learning and keep their families safe.”
Title VI prohibits discrimination by recipients of federal financial assistance on the basis of race, color, or national origin. See 42 U.S.C. §2000d. Title VI regulations prohibit school districts from unjustifiably utilizing criteria or methods of administration that have the effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination because of their race, color, or national origin, or have the effect of defeating or substantially impairing accomplishment of the objectives of a program for individuals of a particular race, color, or national origin. See 28 C.F.R. §42.104(b)(2) and 34 C.F.R. §100.3(b)(2).
“We won’t be bullied into playing the role of an immigration enforcement agency actively targeting families who call Hartford home,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said recently. “To do otherwise would not only be at odds with our values as a city, but also at odds with public safety and common sense.”
For more information or if you have any questions, please contact the Hartford Public Schools Welcome Center at 860-695-8400.
Please use the links below from the Immigrant Defense Project to access posters in diverse languages to help you learn about the limitations on how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducts community arrests and how to protect your rights:
You may also reference FACT SHEET FOR FAMILIES AND SCHOOL STAFF: LIMITATIONS ON DHS IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS AT SENSITIVE LOCATIONS. This source of information explains many important facts and where to report discrimination that you suspect may be taking place in your school:
Anyone with information about discrimination occurring in schools, including discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin (which may include citizenship or immigration status), may file a complaint by contacting the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights via www.ed.gov/ocr, firstname.lastname@example.org, 800-421-3481 or TDD: 800-877-8339 (for language assistance contact 800-USA-LEARN (800-872-5327)), or by contacting the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Educational Opportunities Section via www.justice.gov/crt/edo, email@example.com, 877-292-3804, or TTY: 800-514-0383.
You may also visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection website Frequently Asked Questions about sensitive locations at https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/sensitive-locations-faqs (en español)
An additional resource that may be helpful to educators is the Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff: http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/im_uac-educators-guide_2016.pdf.
Resources from the State of Connecticut
ICE Sensitive Locations Policy
U.S. Department of Education guidance for supporting undocumented youth
United We Dream – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals guide for teachers and school staff
School Counselors Working with Undocumented Students
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services information on the rights of unaccompanied children to
enroll in school and participate meaningfully and equally in educational programs
The following organizations provide direct legal services:
Hartford Public Library, The American Place – Hartford Public Library (HPL) Downtown Branch (500 Main Street) is recognized by the US Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to offer legal advice by its BIA accredited representatives, and its citizenship application services are free!
International Institute of Connecticut
Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services
Catholic Charities Migration, Refugee, and Immigration Services
Center for Children’s Advocacy
Connecticut Legal Services
UConn School of Law Asylum and Human Rights Clinic
Yale Law School Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic
This post is also available in: Español