TK-8 District of Choice

Immigration Enforcement: Know Your Educational Rights


Your Child Has the Right to a Free Public Education

  • All children in the United States have a Constitutional right to equal access to free public education, regardless of immigration status and regardless of the immigration status of the student’s parents or guardians.
  • In California:
    • All children have the right to a free public education.
    • All children ages 6 to 18 years must be enrolled in school.
    • All students and staff have the right to attend safe, secure, and peaceful schools.
    • All students have a right to be in a public school learning environment free from discrimination, harassment, bullying, violence, and intimidation.
    • All students have equal opportunity to participate in any program or activity offered by the school, and cannot be discriminated against based on their race, nationality, gender, religion, or immigration status, among other characteristics.

Information Required for School Enrollment

  • When enrolling a child, schools must accept a variety of documents from the student’s parent or guardian to demonstrate proof of the child's age or residency.
  • You never have to provide information about citizenship/immigration status to have your child enrolled in school. Also, you never have to provide a Social Security number to have your child enrolled in school.

Confidentiality of Personal Information

  • Federal and state laws protect student education records and personal information. These laws generally require that schools get written consent from parents or guardians before releasing student information, unless the release of information is for educational purposes, is already public, or is in response to a court order or subpoena.
  • Some schools collect and provide publicly basic student “directory information.” If they do, then each year, your child’s school district must provide parents/guardians with written notice of the school’s directory information policy, and let you know of your option to refuse release of your child’s information in the directory.

Family Safety Plans If You Are Detained or Deported

  • You have the option to provide your child’s school with emergency contact information, including the information of secondary contacts, to identify a trusted adult guardian who can care for your child in the event you are detained or deported.
  • You have the option to complete a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit or a Petition for Appointment of Temporary Guardian of the Person, which may enable a trusted adult the authority to make educational and medical decisions for your child.

Right to File a Complaint

  • Your child has the right to report a hate crime or file a complaint to the school district if he or she is discriminated against, harassed, intimidated, or bullied on the basis of his or her actual or perceived nationality, ethnicity, or immigration status.

For more information on resources for responding to immigration enforcement activities at California schools, or to file a complaint, please contact:

Bureau of Children’s Justice
California Attorney General’s Office

P.O. Box 944255 Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Phone: (800) 952-5225
Website: Complaint to the Bureau of Children’s Justice

The Attorney General’s publications can be downloaded at the Bureau of Children's Justice website.