Know Your Rights: Enrollment
Families often experience discrimination or are met with barriers to school enrollment. Districts frequently collect unnecessary documentation that is onerous for English learner families and the child is kept out of school while the paperwork is collected. A 2017 Duke Children’s Law Clinic report found that about 60% of North Carolina public school districts inhibit enrollment for immigrant children in at least one way.
A student has the right to enroll in a public school if s/he:
- is between the ages of five and 21;
- tries to enroll during the first 120 days of a school year;
- lives with a parent or legal guardian in that school’s school district;
- is not currently suspended or expelled from that school or another public school; and
- has not been convicted of a felony in adult criminal court.
Though local school districts may ask for additional information, they MUST enroll the student while waiting to receive the information.
Know Your Rights: A Sound Basic Education
Every child has the right to an opportunity to receive a sound basic education. A sound basic education is one that provides a student with:
- the ability to read, write, and speak English;
- sufficient knowledge of math and science in order to function in a complex and changing society;
- sufficient knowledge of geography, history, and basic economic and political systems to enable the student to make informed choices that affect the student personally or affect the student’s community, state, and nation;
- sufficient academic and work skills to enable the student to successfully go on to college or vocational school after graduation;
- sufficient academic and work skills to allow the student to compete for further education or employment;
- a competent, certified, well-trained teacher;
- a well-trained, competent principal; and
- a school that has enough resources to support an effective instructional program.