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AB 699 Mandates Support for Immigrant Families

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AB 699 Mandates Support for Immigrant Families New Law Sets July 1, 2018 Deadline to Adopt Policies For years, both state and federal laws have required public schools to provide equal rights and opportunities to all persons regardless of their actual or perceived membership in certain protected classes (e.g., race, gender, disability, nationality, sexual orientation). Assembly Bill 699 (AB 699), signed into law in October 2017, expressly added "immigration status" as a specified protected characteristic for purposes of anti-discrimination and equal protection laws in schools and other educational entities and agencies. AB 699 also outlined a number of mandates with which local educational agencies must comply, including the adoption of policies that are consistent with or equivalent to the California Attorney General's model policies. The deadline for compliance is July 1, 2018. 1 This checklist provides only a brief description of such mandates to ensure your LEA is in compliance with AB 699, and may not cover all legal requirements. It is not intended to replace guidance from your legal counsel. Gathering and Managing Student and Family Information Stop specifically inquiring, collecting and/or retaining information about a student's or family's immigration status or citizenship; further abstain from seeking or using such information to discriminate or bar families from enrollment. If the submission of national origin information is required to satisfy requirements of a special program (e.g. English language development programs), solicit the information separately from, and not during, the enrollment process. Create alternative means to establish residency, age or other eligibility criteria, to ensure these means do not reveal information related to immigration status or citizenship. Further, do not ask solely for documents that immigrant families may not possess (e.g., birth certificates or passports). Review enrollment related policies, including admissions and residency, to ensure that they are consistent with AB 699 and are immigrant-friendly. Stop soliciting or collecting entire Social Security numbers or cards; however, if a Social Security number is required to establish eligibility for federal benefits programs (e.g., free or reduced lunch programs), do not collect this information during the enrollment process. Only the last four digits of an adult household member's Social Security number may be collected and the LEA should explain the limited purpose for which it is being used and that providing this information is optional. Create policies and procedures for gathering and handling student information in compliance with the law and provide training to those who are responsible for such tasks. Sharing Student and Family Information Do not disclose information that may indicate a student's or family's citizenship or immigration status if such disclosure is not authorized under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). 1 This useful publication, Promoting a Safe and Secure Learning Environment for All: Guidance and Model Policies to Assist California's K-12 Schools in Responding to Immigration Issues, can be accessed at https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/bcj/school-guidance-model-k12.pdf.

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