MALDEF & Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Decry School Districts Efforts to Keep Children Out of Schools

October 2, 2009

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Today, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) strongly criticized Texas school districts seeking to exclude students from enrollment based on allegations that the students do not reside within school district boundaries. MALDEF and TRLA are working to inform parents, students and educators of the legal rights of students attending public schools in Texas and the state and local requirements that school districts must adhere to governing student enrollment.

Earlier this school year, the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District (SFDR) stopped parents at the border coming from Mexico to the U.S. and gave those parents a letter informing the parents that their children were being withdrawn from school because the school district assumed those children did not live within the district’s boundaries. Ignoring the bi-national community ties between Del Rio, Texas and Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, SFDR’s sole basis for this charge of non-residency was that the children were seen coming from Mexico that particular morning. Reports indicate that SFDR may not have removed students from school but allegedly did continue to ask parents for additional documentation proving residency within the district, documents that were above and beyond the district’s own policy. Most recently, the Laredo Times reported that United I.S.D. is also considering other extreme measures to keep children from attending school, including possible home inspections.

In 1982, MALDEF won a historic victory in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Plyler v. Doe. The Plyler decision held that undocumented children who live in the U.S. have a constitutional right to attend schools here in the U.S. School districts that attempt to circumvent the Plyler ruling by targeting certain students with “admission” policies that violate state enrollment residency laws or the spirit of Plyler may also be violating the U.S. Constitution.

MALDEF and TRLA have attached to this press release a statement of the rights of parents and guardians to enroll their children in Texas public schools. You can also find this document by going to:

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund