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Policy 1070 – Protections and Supports for Foreign-Born Students and Families

The purpose of this policy is to set clear expectations for rights, protections, and supports of foreign-born students, their families, and students perceived to be foreign-born.

Policy Document

I. Policy Statement

The Board of Education of Howard County acknowledges that foreign-born students and families may face unique circumstances that negatively impact their safety and learning environment unless appropriate safeguards are taken. The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) welcomes and supports all students and families, regardless of their place of birth or immigration status, and is committed to providing a safe, engaging, and supportive school climate in which individuals and families are valued and protected. The Board is committed to maintaining a culture that recognizes the worth and dignity of the individual in support of academic achievement and social and emotional development.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to set clear expectations for rights, protections, and supports of foreign-born students, their families, and students perceived to be foreign-born.

III. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Bullying – Intentional conduct, including verbal, physical, or written conduct, or an intentional electronic communication that creates a hostile educational or work environment by substantially interfering with a student’s or employee’s educational or employment benefits, opportunities, or performance, or with their physical or psychological well-being and is:

    1. A real or perceived power imbalance; or,

    2. Repeated; or,

    3. Motivated by an actual or a perceived personal characteristic including race, national origin, immigration status, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ancestry, physical attributes, socioeconomic status, family structure, or physical or mental ability or disability; or,

    4. Threatening or seriously intimidating; or,

    5. Occurs on any property owned or leased by the HCPSS, at a school activity or event, or on a school bus; or,

    6. Sent via electronic communication; or,

    7. Substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a school or workplace.

  2. Cyberbullying – Harassment, humiliation, intimidation, and/or threats to others transmitted by means of any electronic device, including but not limited to the use of social media sites, telephones, cellular phones, computers, or tablets.

  3. Discrimination – Any act or omission due to an individual’s status or perceived status in a protected class (race, color, creed, national origin, immigration status, religion, physical, mental, or learning disability, pregnancy, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or socioeconomic status) that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment; or substantially interferes with an individual’s ability to work, be educated, or otherwise is sufficiently serious to limit an individual’s employment opportunities, or to limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program.

  4. Foreign-Born – Anyone who is not a U.S. citizen at birth. This includes, but not limited to, naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents, refugees, asylees, and those without documented status.

  5. Harassment – A sufficiently severe action or persistent, pervasive pattern of actions or statements, directed at an identifiable individual or group, that is intended to be, or which a reasonable person would perceive as, ridiculing or demeaning.

  6. Immigration Status – An individual’s legal standing under immigration law.

  7. Intimidation – Subjection to intentional action that seriously threatens and induces a sense of fear and/or inferiority which adversely affects one’s ability to participate in or benefit from the educational or work setting.

  8. Plyler v. Doe (1982) – A United States Supreme Court case (457 U.S. 202) that held that a public school district may not deny students access to education based on their immigration status, citing the harm it would inflict on the student and society itself, and their equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.

  9. Safe Zone – Any property owned or leased by the HCPSS where the privacy, safety, educational climate, and emotional health of our foreign-born students is lawfully safeguarded.

IV. Standards

  1. As per Plyler v. Doe (1982), the HCPSS does not deny access to education based on a student’s immigration status or place of birth.

  2. Any property owned or leased by the HCPSS is a safe zone for its students and their families.

  3. Consistent with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement(I.C.E.) 2011 policy directive, the HCPSS believes that schools are sensitive locations where immigration enforcement action should not occur. Unless federal, state, or local law mandates otherwise, immigration enforcement actions may not occur on any property owned or leased by the HCPSS.

  4. HCPSS employees will have access to information, resources and supports that can be helpful to students and families who may be impacted by immigration enforcement actions.

  5. HCPSS employees will not take any action that may discourage the participation or lead to the exclusion of students based on place of birth or immigration status.

  6. HCPSS employees will not require students or their families to provide any information about their immigration status (except where specific rules apply to students in international exchange programs as defined in Policy 9000 Student Residency, Eligibility, Enrollment and Assignment).

  7. The HCPSS will annually review its record-keeping policies and practices to ensure that no data is being collected or maintained with respect to students’ immigration status.

  8. The HCPSS will not tolerate any harassment, bullying, cyberbullying, intimidation or discrimination on account of a student being foreign-born, their immigration status, or their perceived immigration status on any property owned or leased by the HCPSS or at school system activities.

  9. The HCPSS will develop and maintain partnerships with community organizations and legal services organizations who provide resources for families, including families with questions about immigration laws and deportation.

  10. The HCPSS will provide professional learning to HCPSS employees that:

    1. Enhance interaction with foreign-born students and families.

    2. Ensure that inquiries, requests for documentation, and the handling of student information comply with Plyler v. Doe (1982).

    3. Provide training on responding to requests by federal immigration agents.

    4. Assist students and their families in accessing resources and services offered by the school system and other agencies when made aware that they have been affected by immigration enforcement actions.

  11. Consequences for violations of this policy will be administered according to applicable school system policies as noted in Section VII.B.

V. Responsibilities

  1. All HCPSS employees will comply with the expectations for safe school environments.

  2. The principal/designee will ensure training for school staff to connect families to resources.

  3. The Superintendent/Designee will review record keeping policies and practices.

  4. The Superintendent/Designee will enhance partnerships with community-based organizations who provide resources for families, including families with questions about immigration laws and deportation.

  5. The Superintendent/Designee will provide annual professional development for employees and third parties on the provisions of this policy.

  6. The Superintendent/Designee will take action in response to a violation of this policy.

VI. Delegation of Authority

The Superintendent is authorized to develop procedures for the implementation of this policy.

VII. References

  • Homeland Security Act of 2002 - Section 462

  • Plyler v Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982)

  • William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protections Reauthorizations Act of 2008 - Section 235

C. Relevant Data Sources

D. Other

  • HCPSS Student Code of Conduct

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Policy 10029.2 - Enforcement Actions at or Focused on Sensitive Locations

  • Recognizing Safe School Zones Resolution adopted by the HCPSS Board of Education on September 7, 2017

VIII. History

ADOPTED: October 2, 2018




EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2019