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Undocumented parents seek CMS policy change allowing them in classrooms
Charlotte Observer ^ | 6/21/14 | Mark Price

Posted on 06/22/2014 8:28:37 PM PDT by bigtoona

Janet Marino says she isn’t asking for much from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Just a chance to visit classes on occasion to see how her two disabled children are doing. Or to be a chaperone on a field trip. Or to volunteer during a classroom activity.

It’s what any parent would want, she believes.

But undocumented immigrants like Marino, 34, aren’t treated like other parents. They don’t have the Social Security numbers or photo IDs that are required by CMS for criminal background checks.

That essentially bans undocumented immigrants – people not in the country legally – from participating in school activities. Yet, children in the United States are entitled to attend public schools, regardless of immigration status.

“I want to get involved in my children’s schooling. Being the mother of a disabled child, I’d like to be there when my son overcomes hurdles, but they won’t allow it,” said Marino, noting her two children are U.S. citizens.

“It’s hard enough to be a single mom of a normal child, but being a mother of disabled children? The schools should be helping me rather than being an obstacle. I don’t like to say it, but it feels like racism. I don’t see them treating white parents this way.”

CMS officials maintain background checks are universally applied to weed out sex offenders and others who pose an “unacceptable risk to students or to the school system.” This can include those who might cause physical, sexual or emotional harm, steal or damage property, or violate CMS confidentiality procedures.

School officials acknowledge the problems faced by some immigrant parents and are working toward a solution. They also say they need to “manage perceptions” that the existing policy discriminates against immigrants.

“All parents have the right to go to school and visit children during lunch, request meetings with teachers and attend teacher conferences,” said CMS spokeswoman LaTarzja Henry. “(But) parents who don’t have a Social Security number can’t tutor or mentor students, can’t go on field trips, can’t participate in field days, and can’t do anything that would cause them to be alone with a child on campus.”

The conflict becomes more obvious as the immigrant population rises.

CMS doesn’t know how many undocumented students and parents are in the system. English proficiency is often used as an indicator. Currently, the district reports students with limited English skills account for 25 percent to 52 percent of the student body at 15 schools in the county.

“And this isn’t just about Latinos. There are a lot of families that come to us from other countries without documentation,” Henry said.

Arguments have been made that CMS could solve the issue by accepting other forms of identification, such as passports or consular IDs, as some other districts have done.

CMS recently created a work team to explore alternatives. The first meeting will be in July and members will include representatives of the immigrant community, business leaders, parents and CMS staff.

Recommendations to the school board could be crafted as early as September, for possible implementation in the fall, CMS officials said.

However, immigrant advocates are wary, noting CMS has been aware of the issue since at least June 2012, when concerns were voiced at a community forum on the state of Mecklenburg County’s 23,600 Hispanic students.

More recently, the policy has also been criticized repeatedly during an ongoing series of public meetings staged by the city’s recently created Immigrant Integration Task Force.

And last month, Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter was asked during a meeting of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce if he would intercede on behalf of immigrant parents.

While the mayor has no authority over the schools, Clodfelter said he’d bring up the matter with CMS officials as part of a broader discussion of issues.

Members of the Immigrant Integration Task Force say this is the mayor’s chance to set the tone for how Charlotte deals with immigrants. The task force is looking for ways the community can become more welcoming of immigrants. Final recommendations are to be considered next year by the City Council.

Attorney Stefan Latorre, chair of the Immigrant Integration Task Force, said he believes Clodfelter could send a strong pro-immigrant message if he lobbied CMS on behalf of parents seeking a policy change. And he’d like to see that happen before the task force makes its recommendations next year.

Parent participation important

Joanna Rivera of Charlotte’s Latin American Coalition believes CMS has a moral obligation to find an alternative. Currently, Latino students have a 71 percent rate of graduating on time from CMS, compared to a 91 percent rate for white students.

“This is doing harm. It’s important for children to see their parents at the school, participating in activities. It helps with self-esteem,” said Rivera, adding that she thinks this is a problem the community would rather ignore.

“You’ve got parents who want to be involved and you’ve got those children begging their parents to be there. What those children don’t understand is the risk those parents take when they go to a school.”

Those risks include the possibility of being arrested for driving without a license or being deported, she says.

Manolo Betancur, owner of Las Delicias Bakery, pressed Clodfelter to get involved during the Latin American Chamber of Commerce meeting last month.

Betancur recently hosted a meeting of undocumented parents at his business. Several said they must sit at separate tables when they show up to share lunch with their children in the cafeteria.

School officials say this is often done because there is a lack of space in the cafeteria, but some immigrant parents see it differently.

“It’s like when blacks and whites had to sit apart,” Betancur said. “It’s wrong. You know, we are not coming from another planet. We’re human and it’s against American beliefs that we are relegated to sit at different tables.”

Estela Hernandez, 41, is one such parent. She and her husband of 10 years are undocumented and they have three children, two of whom are registered in CMS schools.

She supports the district’s stand on requiring criminal background checks, but insists it can be accomplished with something other than a Social Security number.

“I’m trying not to take it personal, but I believe this (policy) is holding my children back,” Hernandez said. “How can I help them to do better if I can’t be in class to watch?”

Background checks ‘nonnegotiable’

School board chairwoman Mary McCray recently met with a group of undocumented parents and says she is optimistic that a solution will be found.

McCray says the district has been working behind the scenes to break down barriers for immigrant parents. An example, she says, was last year’s decision to make it easier for such parents to visit their children during lunch at school.

It’s common for parents and their children to sit at separate tables during lunch, though she’s aware that some perceive that as discrimination.

She’s also aware that undocumented immigrants remain controversial in the community, but says that’s not a factor when it comes to the business of educating children.

“This is not discrimination. Not doing background checks is nonnegotiable. Otherwise, you do not know who is coming into your buildings,” McCray said.

“But we have to understand that (undocumented immigrants) are in our community and their children are in our schools and want to learn. It’s just the way it is now. As board chair, I represent everybody, documented or not.”

Cost is a factor

Currently, the district performs criminal background checks each night on 107,000 people registered to be CMS volunteers, officials said. When criminal activity appears on a volunteer’s record – something that happens almost daily – Charlotte-Mecklenburg police do a review to see if it is serious enough to disqualify a volunteer, CMS officials said.

The big challenge, Henry said, is to find some other form of identification that will allow criminal background checks to continue.

In addition to passports and consular IDs, finger-printing is used by some of the nation’s larger school districts. But that wouldn’t work for CMS, Henry said, because it’s expensive and would require setting up a new system.

“What’s important to understand is that we really do want all of our families to be engaged, and this (team’s) work will help us move closer to our goal,” Henry said.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/06/21/4994777/undocumented-parents-seek-cms.html#storylink=cpy


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: aliens
Barf alert for the article, but read the comments, 90% conservative patriots! A good sign seeing people in Charlotte NC pushing back against the amnesty bandwagon!

You can only comment via Facebook, but please comment if you can.

1 posted on 06/22/2014 8:28:37 PM PDT by bigtoona
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To: bigtoona

“And take downy our flags, Puto! We’re putting up old Mexicano!”


2 posted on 06/22/2014 8:29:24 PM PDT by Viennacon
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To: bigtoona

foreign criminal invaders making demands


3 posted on 06/22/2014 8:31:44 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: bigtoona

Dear Janet Marino. Just go back home. Problem solved!


4 posted on 06/22/2014 8:36:15 PM PDT by RightGeek (FUBO and the donkey you rode in on)
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To: bigtoona

Send all of the Illegal Alien Invaders from Mexico to the nearest rail head in Mexico!


5 posted on 06/22/2014 8:42:33 PM PDT by Graewoulf (Democrats' Obamacare Socialist Health Insur. Tax violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: bigtoona

Boo freeping hoo. You wanna be in the classroom with my child for an extended period or chaperon my child on a field trip, you must pass a basic background check. You can’t? Get the freep over it.


6 posted on 06/22/2014 8:44:22 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind. ~Steve Earle)
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To: BuckeyeTexan

Tell me again how her children were enrolled in this school in the first place? Birth certificates? legal resident? Proof of vaccination? Etc etc etc


7 posted on 06/22/2014 8:59:14 PM PDT by Sioux-san
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To: bigtoona

Drip by drip they are circumventing (violating) federal immigration law as it exists on the books through a myriad of “grass-roots” edicts and “policies” which normalize illegal aliens in all aspects of daily American life except that pesky nationality thing which can be fixed with ozero’s pen, and not a shot fired. That’s the game they are playing.


8 posted on 06/22/2014 9:16:55 PM PDT by SpaceBar
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To: bigtoona

Arrest and deport the illegal alien THIEF.


9 posted on 06/22/2014 9:36:19 PM PDT by Ray76 (True change requires true change - A Second Party ...or else it's more of the same...)
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To: bigtoona

I have no sympathy for these people. I have no tolerance for them. I don’t care if you can’t see your child eat lunch. You knew there’d be some repercussions for living illegally in a country, if you didn’t you live up to the stereotype. Plain and simple lady, if you want to have the rights of a United States citizen you have to be one.


10 posted on 06/22/2014 10:19:11 PM PDT by kelly4c (http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/post?id=2900389%2C41#help)
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To: bigtoona

Their audacity is frustrating.


11 posted on 06/22/2014 11:23:08 PM PDT by mom.mom
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To: bigtoona

“But undocumented immigrants like Marino, 34, aren’t treated like other parents. They don’t have the Social Security numbers or photo IDs that are required by CMS for criminal background checks.”

Whose fault it that, chica? Follow the law, and be treated like a non-criminal.


12 posted on 06/22/2014 11:24:14 PM PDT by Politicalkiddo (The more helpless the victim, the more hideous the assault.)
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To: bigtoona

so illegal aliens don’t respect our immigration laws and they don’t respect any other laws but the moment they are on death row they all of a sudden respect our legal system and claim allegiance to their country of origin to get help from the govt they left illegally.


13 posted on 06/22/2014 11:30:44 PM PDT by RginTN
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To: bigtoona
Single illegal alien mother with 2 "disabled" children. I get the picture. She's got a first class ticket on the USS Gravy Train Express paid for by you and me.

I'm buying heating oil 5 gals at a time, cutting firewood, doubled the size of the garden and buying as many doe tags as I can and hoping this winter won't be as tough as last.

14 posted on 06/22/2014 11:33:20 PM PDT by Eagles6 (Valley Forge Redux. If not now, when? If not here, where?)
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To: bigtoona

“Cost is a factor”

This fact is lost on the author. If I was a newspaper editor, for extra credit, I would have the author produce an article detailing the countless billions of dollars American taxpayers are shelling out for the undocumented.


15 posted on 06/22/2014 11:38:30 PM PDT by Artie (We are surrounded by MORONS)
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To: bigtoona

If it really means that much to you, lady, go to the flea market and shell out your $300 for a full fake ID packet: SS#, Green Card, drivers license, whatever else they forge.

Or just take your kids and go back to where you came from.


16 posted on 06/23/2014 12:21:42 AM PDT by ApplegateRanch (Love me, love my guns!©)
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To: bigtoona
To control our southern borders and stop the thousands of children from Latin America from sneaking into the United States, we need at least two new amendments to the Constitution, something like this:

1. "School attendance: Only citizens, legal residents, those with special student visas can attend elementary, high school, and colleges in the United States."

2. "One parent must be a citizen before a newborn child is given automatic citizenship."

3. Felony: We must finally declare that crossing the border illegally is a felony.

Illegal parents come to the United States for the wonderful benefits that their children can receive, like a quality education and great health care. Can you blame them for making the dangerous, long trip with their young children, or sending their children by themselves with the hope that the United States will automatically let them stay?

I don't understand how a child can illegally cross the southern border one day and automatically be eligible to enroll in public school the next day. That is wrong.

The parent should be required to explain how she sneaked into the country and how she ended up in Charlotte all the way from Mexico and tell how long she and her family have been here.

Important: North Carolina and other states need to have their own immigration office in order to know how many legals and illegals are living in their states.

17 posted on 06/23/2014 1:18:01 AM PDT by john mirse
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To: Sioux-san

“Tell me again how her children were enrolled in this school in the first place? Birth certificates? legal resident? Proof of vaccination? Etc etc etc”

Here in NJ schools are paid for by local property taxes; in some towns students are registered and must show certain documentation (more to ensure the parents are contributing to property taxes than to ensure they are here legally). Too many of these illegals work for cash, pay cash rent on illegal apartments, and then demand services as though they have contributed something. NJ is being bankrupted by illegals...


18 posted on 06/23/2014 3:47:38 AM PDT by kearnyirish2 (Affirmative action is economic warfare against white males (and therefore white families).)
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To: mom.mom

“Their audacity is frustrating.”

They are being coached by large segments of our country with a vested interest in having them here.


19 posted on 06/23/2014 3:49:58 AM PDT by kearnyirish2 (Affirmative action is economic warfare against white males (and therefore white families).)
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To: bigtoona

These wetbacks are free to leave at any time and take their children back to whatever hellhole they came from. The kids are already living on the taxpayers dime and I’m sure they’ll want the free lunches with their kids in the public school cafeterias


20 posted on 06/23/2014 4:59:02 AM PDT by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: bigtoona
Her two disabled children? Really? Unless I see some pictures and some medical reports, I'm not buyin' it.

"Sick checks" of today are the "crazy checks" of a decade ago.

-----

Any 'immigrant' who does not set foot on this soil and IMMEDIATY apply for citizenship should be sent back to where they came from, and NO immigrant should have the ability to get a penny of public money.

21 posted on 06/23/2014 5:29:59 AM PDT by MamaTexan (I am a Person as created by the Laws of Nature, not a person as created by the laws of Man)
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To: GeronL

A sex offender can now claim to be an illegal immigrant to gain access to kids, if this scheme passed.


22 posted on 06/23/2014 6:00:06 AM PDT by tbw2
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To: GeronL

Mothers should be able to go on field trips.

Grandparents, too.

Uncles, aunts, cousins, next door neighbors from the old country.

etc, etc, etc.

/sarc


23 posted on 06/23/2014 6:59:51 AM PDT by BwanaNdege ( "For those who have fought for it, Life bears a savor the protected will never know")
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To: SpaceBar

. I don’t like to say it, but it feels like racism. I don’t see them treating white parents this way.”

Of course it is racism you illegal alien. (do I need a sarcasm tag?)


24 posted on 06/23/2014 8:00:40 AM PDT by sheana
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To: BwanaNdege

lol


25 posted on 06/23/2014 11:11:11 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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