Feb. 16, 2017
Dear DPS Families:
In our diverse community of more than 90,000 students, we recognize that many students and their families are struggling with intensely personal questions, concerns and fears about the national landscape regarding immigration. Our critical mission – and our obligation under the law – is to ensure that our schools are safe spaces where a student’s race, ethnicity, religion and immigration status do not create any barriers to that child’s education. To assist this mission, we want to share answers to the following questions regarding immigration status and our commitment to protect students from discrimination and harassment.
Your Questions Answered:
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 education regardless of their immigration status or their parents’ status. That right cannot be taken away by the president or the state or federal legislatures.
Q: Does Denver Public Schools ask for a child’s immigration status when he or she enrolls?
A: No. Public school districts like DPS have an obligation to enroll students regardless of their immigration status and without discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.
Q: Would the school district ever share our students’ immigration status with the federal immigration officials?
A: As mentioned above, we do not ask for students’ immigration status when they enroll. However, if we became aware of a student’s lack of immigration status, we would not share that information with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If we get a request for student information, the DPS legal office will fight to protect all of our students’ constitutional and legal rights to keep their information private.
Q: Do we know whether there will be any immigration enforcement actions on school grounds?
A: As of today, we believe that the federal government is still following guidance that designates schools as sensitive locations where immigration enforcement actions should not happen.
Q: If I am a parent or guardian and I am worried about being detained while my child is at school, what should I do?
A: In the event that any parents are detained during school hours, the district will engage our crisis and emergency response teams to support our students. Please take this opportunity to update your emergency contact information for your students either at your school or in Parent Portal.
Q: What about if I am a DACA recipient?
A: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is based on an order by the president. The new president could choose to rescind that order. If you are a recipient of DACA, consider reaching out to an immigration attorney now in order to determine if you have access to a better form of immigration status. Additional information can be found here.
Q: What should I do if I want to understand my immigration rights?
A: Only immigration attorneys can provide you with accurate advice about immigration status and how you can pursue any legal rights you might have. For your own protection, please do not seek the advice of notarios or others who are not licensed immigration attorneys. A list of available resources can be found here. Also, you can seek an immigration attorney from the American Immigration Lawyers Association here (English) or here (Spanish).
Q: What does Denver Public Schools do to ensure that no student or family is discriminated against or harassed because of their race, ethnicity, religion or national origin?
A: DPS believes deeply in ensuring equity – it is one of our core values. We have policies in place that mandate no discrimination or harassment for our students, families or employees on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin and many other protected classes.
Q: What should I do if I feel like my student or I have been the victim of discrimination or harassment?
A: Please report the behavior immediately to a school leader or to the superintendent. Complaints and concerns can be filed using the forms and procedures in Board Policy AC (click here). We take these complaints very seriously to assure that our schools continue to be safe spaces.
If you have a question that is not answered here, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will work to provide an answer and will continue to update this document with answers to your questions.