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COLUMBIA – Columbia Public Schools is looking to help undocumented families in their district by offering a resource guide. The document was presented at the school board meeting on Monday.

CPS Community Relations Director Michelle Baumstark said this document was created due to concerns from the community on the topic of enrollment.

“It was important for us to be able to provide a resource document so that people understand what our enrollment process is,” Baumstark said. “What laws and policies the school district is required to abide by and then making that available to families or community members who may have questions about what that is.”

The district cites two Educational Rights laws they abide by. The first is the 1982 Supreme Court case Plyler vs. Doe, which ruled that all students have the right to enroll in public schools regardless of the immigration status of the students and their parents. It also cites the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which prohibit school districts from providing students’ education records to anyone without parent/guardian consent.

Baumstark said this was a way for the district to not only help their families but also address the publics’ concerns.

“We want our community and our families and our students to know what their rights are and what resources are available to them either through Columbia Public Schools or through partnering organizations in the community,” she said.

Columbia Missouri National Education Association President Kathy Steinhoff said she hopes the Board adopts a resolution for undocumented students in the district.

“By signing a resolution, it makes it a little bit more current,” Steinhoff said. “And it lets people see that this is what our district is about.  We’re about welcoming all students and providing them an outstanding education. “

The resource guide is available on the CPS district website and at the districts headquarters in the Family Welcome Center.

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