• Kingston City School District

    Immigrant Educational Rights

    September 2018

    Dear Kingston Community,

    Protecting the rights of Kingston’s immigrant and undocumented students is very important to me and our district’s beliefs and values. We received guidance on this issue from the NYS Attorney General’s Office and from the NYS Commissioner of Education. The messages conveyed reaffirms that New York “schools will remain safe havens where all students can learn.”

    Pursuant to NYS Education Law, “Undocumented children, like U.S. citizen children, have the right to attend school full time as long as they meet the age and residency requirement established by state law.”

    Various laws protect undocumented students, including the New York Family Court Act (NYFCA) and the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In addition, undocumented students have the right to attend school in an environment that is free of harassment. Undocumented students are covered under the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA).

    In accordance with guidance provided by the State, Kingston will not allow immigration officials to interview students at school. It has long been SED’s position that law enforcement officers may not remove a student from school property or interrogate a student without the consent of the student’s parent or person in parental relation, except in very limited situations (e.g., when law enforcement officers have a valid warrant or when a crime has been committed on school property). In addition, requests to access student records and personally identifiable information are protected under FERPA and the District will deny such requests.

    The following links are guidance resources that we have received on these issues and we are proud to partner with our local Ulster Immigrant Defense Network, a coalition formed by local faith communities and concerned residents to provide a network of safety and support for our immigrant friends and neighbors, who are valued members of our communities. https://ulsterimmigrantdefensenetwork.org/

    Letter from Commissioner Elia and NYS Attorney General Regarding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
    http://www.nysed.gov/common/nysed/files/oag-sed-letter-ice-2-27-17.pdf

    Available Guidance and Resources to Combat Harassment. Bullying and Discrimination in Schools in Light of Recent Immigration-related Actions (DASA Guidance)
    http://www.p12.nysed.gov/dignityact/documents/dasa-guidance.pdf

    Guidance and Resources Available in 20 Languages Here
    http://www.nysed.gov/news/2017/guidance-rights-immigrant-students-and-dignity-all-students-act-now-available-20-languages

    We often reaffirm that the safety and security of our students is our top priority. This applies to all Kingston students. We firmly believe that all District students have the right to attend school in a safe, non-threatening environment. If you have any question, please contact your child’s principal.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Paul J. Padalino
    Superintendent of Schools