Skip to comments.Undocumented parents seek CMS policy change allowing them in classrooms
Posted on 06/22/2014 8:28:37 PM PDT by bigtoona
Janet Marino says she isnt 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.
Its what any parent would want, she believes.
But undocumented immigrants like Marino, 34, arent treated like other parents. They dont 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 childrens schooling. Being the mother of a disabled child, Id like to be there when my son overcomes hurdles, but they wont allow it, said Marino, noting her two children are U.S. citizens.
Its 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 dont like to say it, but it feels like racism. I dont 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 dont have a Social Security number cant tutor or mentor students, cant go on field trips, cant participate in field days, and cant 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 doesnt 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 isnt 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 Countys 23,600 Hispanic students.
More recently, the policy has also been criticized repeatedly during an ongoing series of public meetings staged by the citys 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 hed 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 mayors 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 hed like to see that happen before the task force makes its recommendations next year.
Parent participation important
Joanna Rivera of Charlottes 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. Its 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.
Youve got parents who want to be involved and youve got those children begging their parents to be there. What those children dont 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.
Its like when blacks and whites had to sit apart, Betancur said. Its wrong. You know, we are not coming from another planet. Were human and its 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 districts stand on requiring criminal background checks, but insists it can be accomplished with something other than a Social Security number.
Im 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 cant 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 years decision to make it easier for such parents to visit their children during lunch at school.
Its common for parents and their children to sit at separate tables during lunch, though shes aware that some perceive that as discrimination.
Shes also aware that undocumented immigrants remain controversial in the community, but says thats 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. Its 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 volunteers 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 nations larger school districts. But that wouldnt work for CMS, Henry said, because its expensive and would require setting up a new system.
Whats important to understand is that we really do want all of our families to be engaged, and this (teams) 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
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“And take downy our flags, Puto! We’re putting up old Mexicano!”
foreign criminal invaders making demands
Dear Janet Marino. Just go back home. Problem solved!
Send all of the Illegal Alien Invaders from Mexico to the nearest rail head in Mexico!
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.
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
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.
Arrest and deport the illegal alien THIEF.
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.
Their audacity is frustrating.
“But undocumented immigrants like Marino, 34, arent treated like other parents. They dont 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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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...
“Their audacity is frustrating.”
They are being coached by large segments of our country with a vested interest in having them here.
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
"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.
A sex offender can now claim to be an illegal immigrant to gain access to kids, if this scheme passed.
Mothers should be able to go on field trips.
Uncles, aunts, cousins, next door neighbors from the old country.
etc, etc, etc.
. I dont like to say it, but it feels like racism. I dont see them treating white parents this way.
Of course it is racism you illegal alien. (do I need a sarcasm tag?)