Open Door Policy: New London Schools Embrace Immigrant Community

Open Door Policy: New London Schools Embrace Immigrant Community

Ensuring that school is a safe place to learn for all students, regardless of their citizenship status, New London is developing a procedure to use when the federal immigration agencies request information or visit.

Places where law enforcement does not usually conduct business, such as schools or churches, are considered sensitive areas by the Department of Homeland Security. However, local officials say that designation does not have the force of law.

“It can be revoked by the Department of Homeland Security at any time,” said Michael Doyle, director of the city’s Immigration Advocacy and Support Center.

The New London policy, called “Welcoming Immigration and Refugee Communities,” prohibits staff from asking about anyone’s immigration status. It also references a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision “Plyler v. Doe” that makes it “unconstitutional for states to deny students access to a free public education based on their immigration status.”

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The policy, which is similar to advice Governor Malloy recently issued, states in part:

“New London Public Schools (NLPS) welcomes anyone from any nation, culture, religion and ethnic background. NLPS values and embraces the richness and cultural assets that all of our wonderfully diverse students and families bring to the greater New London community and our schools.

“The Board of Education believes that the success of each and every New London student will not be predicated by race, income, ethnicity, hone language, personal characteristics, gender identity or ability.”

We want to protect our students in any way we can. It’s incredibly disheartening that in 2017 we even need a policy to protect the rights of immigrants,” said School Board Member Zachary Leavy. “There is nothing more un-American and against our values than what the president is doing.”