Tuesday, March 28, 2017

California pressed to stop collecting students’ citizenship data - SFGate

California pressed to stop collecting students’ citizenship data - SFGate:

California pressed to stop collecting students’ citizenship data

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Civil rights groups asked California’s attorney general Monday to investigate dozens of school districts across the state that require parents to provide children’s Social Security numbers, their citizenship status and other sensitive information such as when they entered the country.
Requiring families to provide such information not only raises legal concerns but can cause a “chilling effect,” deterring parents, especially immigrants in the country without documentation, from enrolling children in school, said the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area and California Rural Legal Assistance.
While such questions have been on school enrollment forms for years, the Trump administration’s plan to aggressively enforce immigration laws has spurred opponents as well as schools and cities to reassess policies and protections in place for immigrant students and families.
Several Bay Area districts were among the 75 identified in the letter to Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Forms used by Dublin Unified and La Honda-Pescadero, for example, requested children’s Social Security numbers, while Antioch Unified asked if students were citizens at birth, and Orinda asked if students were U.S. citizens.
“Asking about and collecting this information when parents are simply trying to enroll their children in school is clearly unlawful and creates fear, anxiety and can deter parents from enrolling their children in school, ” said Cynthia L. Rice, a director at California Rural Legal Assistance.
“We strongly urge Attorney General Becerra to use the full power of his office to ensure that school districts immediately stop these practices,” said Deborah Escobedo, senior attorney at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.
Such state action may not be necessary in many districts, where officials said they were unaware they had been asking parents for citizenship status or Social Security numbers — and vowed to immediately remove those questions.
“I’m just so appreciative that this was brought to our attention so we can fix California pressed to stop collecting students’ citizenship data - SFGate: