Students attending Tehachapi Unified School District who are in the country illegally will have a measure of protection from immigration law authorities due to a recently adopted district policy required by the state.
The new district policy, adopted Aug. 14, states the formal steps schools should take in the event an immigration law authority comes to any of the district’s schools to ask for information, speak to, or transport an enrolled student off campus.
In the event this should happen, the superintendent should first notify the parents or guardians, according to the newly adopted policy. District staff should record the reason the officer is on school grounds, copy any documentation, name and badge number, verify if a warrant or subpoena was signed by a judge, and contact the district’s legal counsel.
“We have never had a student removed from a school by immigration to my knowledge. As a public school, we enroll students as they enter our doors,” said interim superintendent Paul Kaminski.
The policy recommends that parents and guardians update any information for a student in the event a student's parent is deported by federal immigration authorities. This will allow the school to ensure the student is cared for by the designated guardian.
Even if Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued an administrative warrant, consent to any request would not be granted without the consultation of district's legal counsel and in some “exigent circumstances,” which may include a search or seizure warrant by a federal judge, said agenda documents.
The California School Boards Association published a model of this policy that aligns with the requirements of the law.
The right to disclose personal information, interview, ask information about family members, and remove students from campus should not be taken “without parental consent, court order, or judicial subpoena,” according to TUSD board agenda documents.
California Assembly Bill 699 states that “children are entitled to a public education while in California, regardless of immigration status.” It added that this equal right to an education affords opportunities to attend educational institutions and school sites can be places free of discrimination or fear and right to pursue a better life.