Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs have an important message for the New York City public schools community:
“All students have the right to attend public school, regardless of their immigration status, national origin, or religion. The New York City Department of Education (DOE) will ensure that all children continue to learn in safe, nurturing environments.”
“We take pride in our diversity,” they said in a recent email and letter sent to parents. “Immigrant parents, students, principals, teachers, and other staff members are a part of what make our schools and our City, the amazing, strong, vibrant places they are. Whether you or your family arrived 100 years or 100 days ago, you are New Yorkers, and we stand with you.”
The Chancellor and the Commissioner also reassured parents, “Your child is our top priority, and we will do everything in our power to protect that right ensure all students get a quality education.”
The letter further served as a reminder that under current policy, DOE staff members will not ask about or keep a record of a student or family member’s immigration status. If you do share confidential information, including your and/or a family member’s immigration status, it will be protected under the City’s confidentiality policy and DOE Chancellor’s Regulations.
Furthermore, DOE staff members will not grant unlimited access to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Like all other law enforcement agencies, ICE is not permitted access to schools without proper legal authority. If ICE officers go to a school for immigration enforcement purposes, they will be referred to the school’s principal, who will then take appropriate action.
In addition to the letter, the DOE provided families with an accompanying Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that presents families with more detailed information, and directs them to support services. Both the letter and FAQ are available in 10 languages on the DOE’s website.
“Nothing is more important than putting our 1.1 million students on the path to success,” concluded Chancellor Fariña and Commissioner Agarwal in their letter. “Thank you for entrusting your child’s education to us.”