ACLU sues Butler School District alleging discrimination against undocumented immigrants

By Naomi Nix/The Star-Ledger

on March 10, 2014 at 9:46 PM, updated March 10, 2014 at 9:47 PM

BUTLER - The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey has sued the Butler School District, alleging it's student registration process unfairly targets children of undocumented immigrants, The Record reports.

The lawsuit, filed on Friday in Superior Court, seeks to force the school district to rescind a policy that requires parents to show a photo driver’s license or government-issued identification card when they register their children for school, the newspaper said.

"The Butler School District continues to stand by a policy that wrongly blocks certain children from the classroom based on the immigration status of their parents, even though the law unambiguously forbids it," ACLU-NJ Senior Staff Attorney Alexander Shalom said in a press release.

"Fortunately, most school districts operate within the bounds of established constitutional law, which for more than 30 years has upheld the right of all children to attend public schools, regardless of their background or origin."

Butler School District officials either could not be reached or did not respond to The Record's request for comment.

The organization argued in its press release that state and federal regulations allow school districts to require proof of residency, but mandate that public schools educate students regardless of their or their parents’ immigration status.

Parties are scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in Morris County on Tuesday morning for hearing on the ACLU's injunction request, newspaper said.

ACLU officials are hoping the injunction will allow undocumented children or the children of undocumented parents to register for the 2014-2015 school year, which takes place between March 10 and 14, according to the organization.