Immigrant Teens Move to Court to Enforce their Right to Free and Pertinent Education

Immigrant teens have moved to court via a federal lawsuit due to a number of schools based in Florida segregating and sidelining them. This has made it impossible for them to access their high school education. Recently, two more immigrant teens were enjoined to the original suit, which had been filed sometimes in May 2016.

Lawsuit

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is spearheading the lawsuit. The SPLC has accused the Collier County school district for averting immigrant minors from joining high schools. The school dirstrict instead directs the minors to an alternative adult program that is costly and does not offer any credit towards a high school qualification. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikepida

The school district, through its actions is diluting the educational rights of immigrant children and acting against their best interests. Its acts are in full contravention of federal laws that entitle all children to receive public education at no charge notwithstanding their immigration status. In addition, Florida laws also provide for every person to access quality education. Among the 350 plaintiffs in the lawsuit, a majority are unaccompanied minors while others have inadequate English skills.

Way Forward

At the moment, the civil rights advocacy group SPLC is seeking for the case to get a class-action status. This refers to a lawsuit where a certain group of persons with similar damages caused by the same action or product sue the defendant(s) as a group.

According to information posted on the SPLC’s website, a number of families tried to enroll their kids at Immokalee High School, but the administrators denied them the chance. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737

The families were utterly shocked when they were told that their children were only eligible to join the Immokalee Technical Center (ITech) for an adult English language class without any further instructions on the other fundamental subjects. These kids were wholly segregated from their peers who speak English.

About Larkin & Lacey Frontera Fund

Village Voice Media and Phoenix New Times co-founders, Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, made a decision to dedicate all their settlement money to funding migrant rights organizations based in Arizona. The two won a $3.75 million settlement after they had been arrested by Sheriff Joe Arpaio on October 18, 2007.

The two, who are journalists, had been arrested at night and taken to jail for revealing that there existed grand jury minutes that were seeking the reporter’s notes on articles featuring the Sheriff.

Apart from that, there were subpoenas seeking the identity of all citizens who were readers of New Times stories on online platforms involving the Sheriff. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, who had spent their careers asserting as well as defending their rights envisioned by the First Amendment, instituted a suit against the county.

The duo seeks to fund all support groups that generally advocate for migrant, human and civil rights, civic participation and freedom of speech in the whole of Arizona.

Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/immigration/2014/12/16/proceeds-arpaio-suit-fund-asu-journalism-chair/20480479/

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