Public Schools & Equal Access Regardless of Immigration Status

April 10, 2017 – Attorney General Maura Healey has issued an advisory notice to public schools titled “Equal Access to Public Education for All Students Irrespective of Immigration Status.

“This advisory is intended as a reminder that state and federal law require state educational agencies and local school districts to provide all elementary and secondary students with equal access to public education—irrespective of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or immigration status.”

The notice lists multiple different state and federal laws, as well as previous court cases including Brown v. Board of Education, that have upheld the rights laid out in the notice. The advisory specifically notes that these rights apply to students regardless of immigration status, meaning even those who may be undocumented are protected by Massachusetts and Federal law.

The advisory also lists specific requirements that schools in the state must uphold, which are:

(1) Allowing children to enroll and attend school without regard to race, national origin, or immigration or citizenship status;

(2) Avoiding information requests that have the purpose or effect of discouraging or denying access to school on the basis of race, national origin, or immigration or citizenship status;

(3) Protecting all students from bullying and harassment on the basis of race, national origin, or immigration or citizenship status.

If you believe your or your student’s rights may have been violated, even if a specific incident is not explicitly covered in this notice, you can reach the Office of the Attorney General here, or by calling (617) 963-2917.

Furthermore, if you would like to hire a qualified attorney to help further protect your rights, to speak about a specific incident, or help with issues regarding your immigration status, you can contact the Boston Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service to be connected with a qualified attorney. Call us at 617-742-0625 or submit an online request form to begin the referral process. All contacts are kept confidential, and any information you provide to us will not be shared with anyone other than the attorney you are referred to only if you choose to allow it.