Today the ACLU of Nebraska published a new report, School Enrollment: A Fundamental Right, evaluating various Nebraska school district enrollment policies and practices to identify any potential barriers for enrolling students who may be refugees, immigrants, foster children or children experiencing homelessness.
In the summer of 2019 the ACLU evaluated the policies of the 20 most racially diverse school districts in Nebraska according to the most recent U.S. Census data. The ACLU examined the districts’ policies through website review, open records requests, and legal and policy research.
The report shows major differences in what districts request to register a child, creating uncertainty across the state. Some districts sought personal information that may be a means for inquiring about citizenship, which is particularly concerning since there is clear federal and state law allowing a free public education for all children regardless of immigration status.
Some districts have made extra efforts to provide bilingual materials or questions designed to identify homeless students needing support services. The report proposes policy and practical solutions and urges local school districts to evaluate their practices to remove any potential barriers to enrollment.