The state attorney general and education commissioner have ordered institutions to admit all students, regardless of immigration status or residency paperwork, in an effort to maintain the right to free public education in New York.
Letitia James, the Attorney General, and Betty A. Rosa, the Commissioner of Education underlined in a handbook released on Monday that children living in temporary housing and migratory kids deserve special protections and immediate enrollment in schools.
Letitia James and Betty A. Rosa’s order calls on school officials to assess their rules right away to make sure they are in line with the state’s education law.
County officials in New York have been debating the placement of families in temporary housing within upstate communities with state legislators, Governor Kathy Hochul, and New York City Mayor Eric Adams when this policy was announced.
The Attorney General’s Office should be notified of any grievances regarding the exclusion of students due to their immigration or housing status, per the recently announced guidance.
Flexibility in Residency Documentation for Inclusive Education: New York State’s Approach
Aside from stating that residency within a particular district is normally required for receiving free education, the document also notes that schools have the discretion to accept different types of residency documentation.
These could be letters from social workers, landlords, or religious figures, as well as pay stubs, membership cards to a library or a voter registration database, or official government documents.
The advice also advises against placing too many limitations on confirmation of residency. It highlights that until their residency is formally established, migrant students should be permitted to attend lessons.
State authorities are acting to secure the inclusion and education of all children, regardless of their origin or housing condition, in the face of persistent federal deadlock and an increase in border crossings.