Attorney General Becerra Issues Guidance to K-12 Schools on Privacy and Equal Rights of All Students

 

The state Attorney General has issued new guidance to help California’s public K-12 schools and other local educational agencies develop policies to protect the rights of undocumented students and their families.

The guide, “Promoting a Safe and Secure Learning Environment for All,” is designed to help schools better understand protections that safeguard the privacy of undocumented students and their families, and to serve as a model for local school districts.

 “Every student, regardless of immigration status, is entitled to feel safe and secure at school,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “In California, nearly half of all children have at least one immigrant parent. It’s our duty as public officials and school administrators to uphold the rights of these students so that their education is not disrupted.”

Approximately 250,000 undocumented children ages 3-17 are enrolled in California public schools and 750,000 K-12 students in California have an undocumented parent—illuminating the need for the state and its educators to do everything within their control to ensure that all California schools are safe havens for their students and families.

The guide provides recommendations for handling personal information from students and their families. It also provides guidance on how to respond to: information requests regarding immigration status; a warrant or court order regarding immigration enforcement; immigration agents requesting access to school grounds; hate crimes related to national origin; and the detention of a student’s family member.

This guide is being issued pursuant to AB 699, which was passed to address the fear and confusion expressed by school officials in the wake of the Trump Administration’s immigration enforcement-related activities and anti-immigrant rhetoric. The guide describes courses of actions that public schools and their administrators can take when interacting with officers who are enforcing immigration laws.

“ICE has no place in our classrooms,” said Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, co-author of the bill.  “As a teacher, I know firsthand that students cannot learn if they feel fear.  Thank you to Attorney General Xavier Becerra for working to keep our schools as learning environments, not detention centers.”

“Students should not fear going to school, and parents should have confidence that their children are in a safe, educational environment,” said Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, co-author of AB 699. “Thank you Attorney General Becerra for ensuring this law is fully implemented and our children are protected.”

To view the guidance, quick-reference guide, and checklist visit the Bureau of Children's Justice.

The checklist is available in Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, and Arabic.

 


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