ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York state is advising school employees to call the superintendent and school attorney if faced with an immigration agent’s request for access to students or their records.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia issued guidance Monday to the state’s 700 school districts after getting questions about schools’ obligation to federal immigration officers.
They said state and federal laws protect the privacy of student records.
“They should not have access to student education records because that would violate privacy laws and expose districts to liability,” Elia said. “Even if they came in and asked to speak to a child, those things should not be allowed.”
Other states and cities have issued similar guidance in the wake of stricter immigration enforcement policies outlined by President Donald Trump’s administration last week.
The New York officials reminded districts that state law entitles students ages 5 to 21 to a free public education, regardless of immigration status.
“The law specifically says that undocumented children, like U.S. citizens’ children, have the right to attend school full time,” Elia said, adding schools should be a safe haven for all students.
“Our schools must be places where all students can learn, free of fear or intimidation – no matter their immigration status,” Schneiderman said. “No family should have to worry that sending their child to school may result in deportation.”
Employees are being urged to check with district officials before honoring any immigration requests.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)