ACLU-NJ Statement on Successful Resolution of 7 School District Suits

June 10, 2014

On June 9, 2014, a week after the ACLU-NJ filed seven lawsuits against school districts with enrollment policies that discriminated against immigrant families, all seven of those districts came into compliance with the law. The districts – Audubon, Gloucester Township and Somerdale Park in Camden County; North Brunswick, Old Bridge Township and Perth Amboy, in Middlesex County; and Galloway Township in Atlantic County – had previously required parents to present state-issued photo ID as a condition of enrollment. To enroll children in local public schools, parents need only two things: proof of a child’s age and proof of residency in the school district.

The following statement is from Alexander Shalom, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of New Jersey.

“A week after the ACLU-NJ filed seven lawsuits against seven school districts for discriminating against immigrant families, all seven districts have agreed to comply with constitutional and state law. These rapid settlements stand as a testament to the lack of ambiguity in the law on discrimination in school enrollment.

All seven had websites that indicated that parents were required to present state-issued photo ID as a precondition of enrolling their child in school, which runs counter to the spirit and the letter of the law.

Fortunately, these schools for the most part quickly acknowledged the need to change their policies. Some explained that they had never finalized changes to the regulations that were under way.

Unfortunately, several New Jersey school districts still ask parents to present identification or erect other improper barriers before parents can enroll their children. The ACLU-NJ will contact these districts in the coming weeks and expects all New Jersey school districts to abide by state and federal law before the start of the next school year.”

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