Rights of Immigrant Students

Here is important information that you may wish to share with your colleagues and other educators, to protect legal, civil and human rights of students and their families, under law.  

With recent raids aimed to legally deport families in Massachusetts, attention to the needs and the status of students and families is heightened, for those directly targeted and for those who are not. Therefore it is critical that schools remain vigilant about maintaining and protecting the rights of students regardless of their immigration status. 

MATSOL has consulted with a group of lawyers and immigration advocates, and existing legal documents, on this enclosed language. But as always, consult your own district legal team on any particular situations, or questions on legal matters. 

  1. Schools should not provide ICE officials with information about students and families. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) generally prohibits school districts from disclosing information from a student’s education records that alone or in combination with other information can identify that student, without the prior written consent of a parent or student who is 18 or older.  (See 20 U.S.C §1232g) Schools should also note that even requesting consent from parents in response to legal subpoena, might compromise a student’s Plyler rights. 
  2. As reminder, below are links to federal OCR and DOJ requirements specifically reminding schools of Plyler rights of students and some additional resources. Please disseminate to school colleagues, teachers and officials, for reminder and review

Also see the Know Your Rights webpage from the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition for additional resources in English and Spanish:

  • Know Your Rights Booklet (English, CASA de Maryland)  
  • Conozca sus derechos Booklet (español, CASA de Maryland)  
  • What should you do if you are stopped by the police? (Pocket cutout card from the American Civil Liberties Union/ACLU)
  • ¿Qué debe hacer si la policia lo detiene? (Tarjeta para recortar de bolsillo del ACLU)  
  • Know Your Rights Infographic (English, MIRA Coalition)
  • Conosca sus derechos Infographic (Spanish, MIRA Coalition)
  • Know Your Rights Cards: Asserting the right to remain silent can be difficult. It’s helpful for people to have a rights card in their wallets that they can pull out and give to immigration agents or police. These cards in both English and Spanish can be easily carried with you and given to any law enforcement agent that might question you.
  • Know Your Rights Videos (English/Spanish)