Know your rights: Undocumented students can attend K-12 public schools

Published July 18, 2023.

In this The Beacon article, Maria Beveneto writes that undocumented youth have the right to access K-12 education in the U.S. While most schools require students to provide their age and address information, they are not allowed to ask questions regarding a student’s immigration status. This knowledge, according to Beveneto, could empower young people and their families to pursue quality education.

Families are not required to disclose their immigration status. Denia Pérez, Director of Legal Services at Immigrants Rising, states, “Deciding whether to be open about one’s immigration status is an individual decision.” Students’ data are protected by FERPA, but Robert Sagastume, Kansas City Public Schools board member, encourages students and their families to caution against writing their immigration status and information down in case of data breaches.

Regarding being approached by police or ICE at schools or on the students’ route, Denia Pérez says, “They can invoke their Fifth Amendment rights — such as the right to remain silent, to refuse to sign anything without a lawyer present, and to have an attorney in criminal proceedings.”

Read the full article here.