California Department of Education (CDE) Information on rights of immigrant students and their families

Legislation & Policy

Following is information provided by the CDE on protections for immigrant students.

What are the laws protecting schools and students with regard to student records and immigration status?

There are several legal protections in place, including:

  • The 1984 Supreme Court decision Plyler v. Doe which requires schools to enroll all eligible children regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.
  • State and federal laws prohibit educational agencies from disclosing personally identifiable student information to law enforcement, without the consent of a parent or guardian, a court order or lawful subpoena, or in the case of a health emergency. 
  • Districts must verify a student’s age and residency, but have flexibility in what documents or supporting papers they use. They do not have to use documents pertaining to immigration status.
  • To determine age, for example, LEAs can rely on a statement from a local registrar, baptismal records, or an affidavit from a parent guardian or custodian.
  • To determine residency, an LEA can rely on property tax receipts, pay stubs, or correspondence from a government agency.

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