Immigration Rights FAQ
Q: Does the District provide a welcoming place to seek help, assistance, information, and safety?
A: In keeping with the Mission Statement, the District has in place a number of policies and practices that create a welcoming place to seek help, assistance, information, and safety.
The mission of the School District of Haverford Township is to educate and to inspire a community of lifelong learners.
The beliefs of the School District of Haverford Township are:
- Excellence in education is the shared responsibility of all community members.
- Support and conditions must exist whereby all students can meet the standards set in the areas of academic and technical learning, the arts, and physical development.
- Our school environment must be safe and nurturing.
- Opportunities must exist for students to develop strong personal character including the core virtues of honesty, generosity, responsibility, self-discipline, perseverance, respect for others, compassion, and commitment.
- Change is constant; therefore, our district must reaffirm or revise the Comprehensive Plan.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What impact does undocumented immigration status have on my child’s education?
A: None. Children have a constitutional right to have equal access to a free and appropriate K-12 public education regardless of their immigration status.
Q: Does the School District of Haverford Township ask for a child’s immigration status when they enroll?
A: No. Pennsylvania school code prohibits school districts from making inquiries related to a student's immigration status for enrollment purposes. The District's enrollment policy and practices do not request immigration status for purposes of registering a student in the district. Additionally, the District does not require a birth certificate or a social security number for purposes of registration.
Q: Would the school district ever share our students’ immigration status with the federal immigration officials?
A: We do not collect this information nor share it. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) specifically prohibits schools from releasing the personal information of a student without the parent or eligible child's prior consent.
Q: What would the District do if it received a request from Federal Immigration agents to enter the school?
A: Board Policy 225 - Students and the Police provides protections when law enforcement requests permission to interrogate and/or arrest a student. Link to Policy 225.
Q: Does the District have the authority to prohibit, control and/or regulate the entry of any person to a school or school grounds?
A: Policy 907 - School Visitors. In order to avoid disruption of the educational environment and to protect and maintain the health and safety of the students and staff, the Superintendent or building principal has the authority to prohibit, control and/or regulate the entry of any person to a school or school grounds of this district.
Q: How does the District train school staff on protecting student privacy?
A: Through new teacher training and regular in-services, the District trains school staff on FERPA (Family Education Rights & Privacy Act) and the application of the District' policies and procedures.
Q: Does the District have a policy to protect the privacy of student records?
A: Board Policy 216 - Student Records. The primary purpose of pupil record keeping shall be the educational welfare and advancement of the pupil.
Q: How does the District communicate and provide access to all policies and procedures to students and families, including appropriate language services? My native language is not English. How can SDHT support me and my family?
A: You can contact your school to request interpretation services for parent meetings. All-District policies are available online through the website. Information on the District website can be translated into multiple languages using the website translation services.
Q: How does the district provide that it is a welcoming place to seek help, assistance, information, and safety?
A: Board Policy 103 - Non-discrimination in Educational Planning provides that all students will have an equal opportunity in the programs offered in the schools "regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin or handicap/disability." The District also makes available to all students a plethora of social services and supports. Included on the District website under US Immigration is the ICE "sensitive locations" memo which outlines a policy designed to ensure that immigration enforcement actions do not take place in sensitive locations, including schools.
Q: What should I do if I want to understand my immigration rights?
A: Only licensed immigration attorneys can provide you with accurate advice about immigration status and how you can pursue your legal rights. Also, you can seek an immigration attorney from the American Immigration Lawyers Association here.
We will continue to update this document with answers to your questions.