SPLC to Alabama school system: Stop excluding immigrant students from extracurricular activities

The Southern Poverty Law Center today demanded that Alabama’s Autauga County Schools end policies and practices that have excluded immigrant students from extracurricular activities.

In a letter sent to Spence Agee, the district’s interim school superintendent, the SPLC describes how the district’s policy of requiring students to provide a Social Security number to participate in extracurricular activities, such as baseball and cheerleading, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. It also ignores rules established by the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Alabama Department of Education.

The SPLC has given the school district until Jan. 14 to take steps to end this practice.

“The law is clear. It is unconstitutional for schools to deny children living in the United States participation in school activities based on their immigration status,” said SPLC staff attorney Caren Short. “Autauga County Schools must ensure every student has equal access to these activities.”

The letter notes that in 1982 the U.S. Supreme Court established that it is unconstitutional to deny students in the United States an education based on their immigration status. In a letter sent to all district superintendents on Aug. 17, Alabama Education Superintendent Thomas R. Bice reiterated that “no child is to be denied enrollment in any school or participation in school activities or programs based on his or her immigration status.”

Parents of students or students who have been denied access to or discouraged from participating in extracurricular activities at their school because of a Social Security number requirement should contact the SPLC at (334) 956-8468 or 800-591-3656.

Oprima aquí para ver la versión en español del comunicado. (Click here to read the Spanish version of this news release.)