HOUSTON — In letters addressed to the superintendents of more than 1,200 school districts across the state, yesterday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas urged superintendents to protect the rights of immigrant students and families as a new academic year begins. The letters expressed the need to examine school policies and practices now that the State’s “show me your papers” law, also known as SB4, is in effect.
“We all should ensure our youth have the best chance of success in school. In a diverse state like ours, this starts with school officials and teachers knowing they have a legal obligation to provide all students with equal access to an education,” said Edgar Saldivar, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “SB4 gives no excuse to treat undocumented students differently, and school districts should ensure they have the same opportunities as other students.”
SB4 does nothing to change the access of immigrant students to an education and safe school environment. The letter explains that K-12 schools are not subject to any requirements pursuant to SB4 and, in fact, can and should strictly limit their involvement in matters of immigration enforcement. All administrators, teachers, and staff have the right to inform students of their rights.
“Education and discussion about student and parent rights following SB4 is critical to ensure that all students feel safe to attend school,” said Kali Cohn, staff attorney for the ACLU of Texas. “Both teachers and students should know their rights and ability to engage in these discussions so that we can ensure an equitable learning environment for all students.”
Our letter and policy recommendations sent to school districts are available for download below.