Mass. Schools Emphasize Student Privacy When Dealing With Immigration Officials

Aug 14, 2017

As a new school year draws near, school officials in Massachusetts are focused on immigration policy, with some districts training their staff how to handle information requests from federal immigration officials.

In May, state Attorney General Maura Healey released guidelines for public schools that detail how cooperative they should be with US Immigration Customs and Customs agents, should they seek information about students. The advisory Healey released said schools can provide basic information, but are not required to.

DAILY HAMPSHIRE GAZETTE: ​Easthampton school personnel to train on how to handle ICE visits

Easthampton's School Committee recently decided all teachers in the district would receive training on how to deal with ICE. It's important that all faculty are up to date on the letter of the law, said School Committee Secretary Peter Gunn.

"All the teachers can reaffirm for the students...[that they] understand exactly, with bright blue lines, what can and cannot happen within the school system as it relates to someone's immigration status," Gunn said.

Springfield and Westfield Public Schools will include a section on dealing with ICE during annual professional development for administrators.

Given Healey's advisory, schools across the commonwealth will likely be reiterating with staff their policies regarding student privacy when it comes to ICE, said Glenn Koocher, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.

"Quite frankly, everybody's going to be getting to this before the year is over," Koocher said.