Resources for Back To School Season

Posted by Arab American Institute on August 29, 2019 at 11:27 AM

Across the country young people and their families are preparing to go back to school. 

As the 2019-2020 academic year gets underway, AAI wants to be sure that families are ready to respond to any incidents of bigotry, discrimination or First Amendment violations related to their child’s education. 

We must be vigilant and remind our students and their families that they have rights. 

Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, students are protected from being discriminated against based on their race, skin color, religion or national origin. Nearly 20 years after Title VI was first enacted, the Supreme Court confirmed, in Plyler v. Doe, that Title VI’s protection also extended to those who were foreign-born. In the United States, public schools cannot refuse to admit a student based on their immigration status.  

Public schools cannot require you to have a Social Security number or a U.S. birth certificate; students have a right to education, regardless of their immigration status. Many schools across the country have also adopted “welcoming policies” in lieu of the Trump Administration’s instructions to expand the power and control of U.S. Customs Enforcement (ICE). These new policies are some of the first steps taken to protect undocumented students. 

Students are free to express their religious beliefs freely; this includes wearing a hijab, crucifix or yarmulke. If English is not your first language, schools must provide language helpParents, you also have the right to receive communication from your student’s school in YOUR primary language. 

Other areas of concern relate to how the First Amendment is applied or violated in relation to student expression. This can range from monitoring the online activity of students to attempts to suppress advocacy for Palestinian human rights on college campuses.  

You have every right to feel SAFE at school. Please see our compilation of resources below by issue for more information.  These are but a few of the resources available.

If you have a specific incident occur, contact us directly. 

If you feel like your student’s rights have been violated at school, use the resources below: 

Resources about how to support immigrant and/or undocumented school children from UNIDOS-US: 

Free speech on campus and student privacy resources from the American Civil Liberties Union:  

“Let us Learn” Resources from The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:   

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