Open States' stated mission is to improve civic engagement.
To be true to that goal, we can not stand by and be silent when a large portion of Americans face systemic racism and other forms of oppression. That oppression has meant being excluded from civic participation at the ballot box, being called un-American for peaceful protests, and being denied justice for crimes committed against them.
Existing law states the policy of the State of California to afford all persons in public schools, regardless of their disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other specified characteristic, equal rights and opportunities in the educational institutions of the state. Existing law prohibits discrimination on the basis of those specific characteristics in any program or activity conducted by an educational institution that receives, or benefits from, state financial assistance or enrolls pupils who receive state student financial aid. Existing law requires the State Department of Education to assess whether local educational agencies have taken certain actions related to educational equity, including adopting a policy that prohibits, and adopting a process for receiving and investigating complaints of, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on those actual or perceived specified characteristics.
This bill would expressly include immigration status in the specified characteristics for purposes of those provisions.
This bill would prohibit school officials and employees of a school district, county office of education, or charter school, except as required by state or federal law or as required to administer a state or federally supported educational program, from collecting information or documents regarding citizenship or immigration status of pupils or their family members. The bill would require the superintendent of a school district, the superintendent of a county office of education, and the principal of a charter school, as applicable, to report to the respective governing board or body of the local educational agency in a timely manner any requests for information or access to a schoolsite by an officer or employee of a law enforcement agency for the purpose of enforcing the immigration laws in a manner that ensures the confidentiality and privacy of any potentially identifying information. The bill would encourage a school, when an employee of the school is aware that a pupil's parent or guardian is not available to care for the pupil, to work with parents or guardians to update the emergency contact information and not to contact Child Protective Services to arrange for the pupil's care unless the school is unable to arrange for care through the use of emergency contact information or instructions provided by the pupil's parent or guardian. The bill would require the governing board or body of a local educational agency to perform specified actions relating to pupils and immigration status, including, among others, providing information to parents and guardians, as appropriate, regarding their children's right to a free public education, regardless of immigration status or religious beliefs. The bill would require the Attorney General, by April 1, 2018, in consultation with appropriate stakeholders, to publish model policies limiting assistance with immigration enforcement at public schools, to the fullest extent possible consistent with federal and state law, and ensuring that public schools remain safe and accessible to all California residents, regardless of immigration status. The bill would require the Attorney General to, at a minimum, consider specified issues when developing the model policies. The bill would require all local educational agencies to adopt the model policies, or equivalent policies, by July 1, 2018. By imposing additional duties on local educational agencies, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.