ACLU sues 12 NJ school districts for undocumented immigrant bias

Posted: Updated:
TRENTON -

A civil rights group has sued 12 New Jersey school districts over enrollment practices that it says discriminates against children of immigrants who are living in the country illegally.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey said in the lawsuit that the districts require forms of state-issued identification that can only be obtained by someone who is a citizen or has a Social Security number.

“New Jersey’s state Constitution calls for free public education, and that applies to every single child – no exceptions,” said ACLU-NJ staff attorney Elyla Huertas in a statement. Huertas was the one who filed the lawsuit.

The districts are spread across the state, and includes one charter school district. The ACLU says the selected districts have the most restrictive policies, but that several others in the state also impose improper requirements.

The districts include:

  • Northern Valley Regional High School District (Bergen County)
  • Bellmawr School District (Camden County)
  • Sterling Regional High School District (Camden County)
  • Winslow Township School District (Camden County)
  • East Orange Community Charter School (Essex County)
  • West New York School District (Hudson County)
  • Sea Girt School District (Monmouth County)
  • Harding Township School District (Morris County)
  • Watchung Hills Regional High School District (Somerset County)
  • Montague School District (Sussex County)
  • Cranford School District (Union County)
  • Allamuchy School District (Warren County)

“Public schools exist to educate all of a community’s children. The stakes are too high to allow these unlawful and discriminatory policies to continue, especially here, especially now,” ACLU-NJ executive director Amol Sinha said in a statement.

The ACLU has previously sued 13 other New Jersey districts in recent years over similar disputes. All those suits were settled after the districts agreed to change their policies.

Associated Press Wire Services contributed to this report.

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