Letter from Superintendent Clemens
To NTPS staff, students and families,One of the primary reasons I took the job as your Superintendent was the district’s focus on compassion and the rich diversity of our community. Having worked here, it is clear that this culture is something we all value. From bus drivers to principals, we make sure every student feels welcome, respected and safe in North Thurston Public Schools.Our mission is to ensure that we prepare every child residing within our district borders for rewarding careers, fulfilling lives and compasionate global citizenship. We want our district to feel safe for all students – no matter their religion, race, culture, gender, sexuality or color. If we hear or are made aware of offensive, bigoted words or actions we intervene. We promote compassionate acts within our schools and community, and empower our students to do the same.Please know that we have a constitutional duty to educate all school-age children who live within our boundaries. This is a duty within North Thurston Public Schools that we embrace. Public education in our state requires that we welcome all children beginning at age 5 and continuing through graduation or age 21. By law, NTPS does not track a student’s citizenship or immigration status. Further, under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a student’s citizenship or immigration status is personally identifiable information that may not be disclosed. This remains true in light of federal changes to the DACA protections for young immigrants.Our students reflect the world we live in – they are problem solvers, they are compassionate, they are brilliant and we are committed to providing a safe and caring learning environment to all our students, every day.I Am NTPS!Deb
Safe Schools for All
All children have a right to a free public education, regardless of their actual or perceived immigration or citizenship status or that of their parents. Article IX, Section 1, of the Washington State Constitution says, "It is a paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex." As public educators, we have a constitutional duty to educate all school-age children who live within the boundaries of our school districts.North Thurston Public Schools is committed to supporting immigrant families and the teachers and administrators at the schools they attend. Below are resources intended to help answer questions around this issue:
Letter from Superintendent Reykdal
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has recently received questions from schools and districts about their responsibility regarding collecting and releasing the immigration status of their students. Below are some general guidelines we hope answers some of those questions.The most relevant U.S. Supreme Court case is Plyler v. Doe, from 1982. In Plyler, the Court ruled that undocumented students have the same right to attend public schools as U.S. citizens and permanent residents. As a result of the ruling, public schools:
Some information – such as a student’s race, ethnicity and address (if the student is not homeless) – is collected. But the student’s personal information cannot be disclosed to the public, nor can it be used to deny enrollment.In addition to federal law, Washington state law contains a chapter (Revised Code of Washington 28A.642), which prohibits discrimination, including discrimination based on national origin.Our state’s public education system exists to help our students learn. It does not function, nor will it function, as an arm of federal immigration services. OSPI is committed to our state’s constitutional requirement that students are to be educated “without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.”OSPI will soon be updating our web site – www.k12.wa.us – with more information, which will be translated into different languages. Please feel free to share this with parents.Additional resources:Thanks for all the work you do to support our students,Chris ReykdalSuperintendent of Public Instruction
- May not deny admission to a student during initial enrollment or at any other time on the basis of immigration status.
- May not treat a student differently to determine residency.
- May not engage in any practices that might have a “chilling effect” on school enrollment.
- May not require students or parents to disclose or document their immigration status, including Social Security numbers.
- May not make inquiries of students or parents that may expose their undocumented status. Examples include asking for a student’s status when enrolling the student as an English learner or when enrolling for free or reduced-price meals.