Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Public School and the Rights of Children and Teachers

Since my last blog I have been researching public education in Texas and have contacted the United States Department of Education and the United States Department of Justice seeking answers to my question.

I am the parent of three children, attending public school, in the state of Texas. Texas is a border state to Mexico, therefore we have numerous illegal immigrants in our state. We also have numerous illegal immigrant children in our public schools. This has lead me to re-evaluate my role as a parent and my role as a US citizen.

I have taught my children to be nice to everyone and every animal. I have taught my children to choose their friends based upon their character and to seek out people that are honest, decent, morally sound, and law abiding.

My daughter had a slumber party a few weeks ago and several of her classmates attended. I was talking to one girl at the party and she proceeded to reveal that her father is in prison, and as the evening progressed she stated that she, as well as her grandmother, are in the United States illegally from Mexico. I am well aware that the border is not enforced and I did not feel that the slumber party was going to be interrupted by an INS raid, but I did feel anxious.

When all of the girls had gone home I asked my daughter if she knew she was here illegally and that her father was in prison. She said that she did know, but she was still her friend and was a nice person.

I on the other hand was very surprised that a child that was in the United States illegally would be so blunt. I would think that if you are trying to live under the radar you would be discreet. This is not the case in our public schools. All of my children know illegal immigrants and attend public school with them on a daily basis.

When I hear the word illegal I think of the words "crime, jail, bad news, stay away, fear", but in our public schools when our children find out that their classmates are illegal, they can not leave class and request to be around only law abiding citizens.

On June 15, 1982 the Supreme Court decided that illegal immigrants can attend public school. It is the case of Pyler V. Doe. The Texas statute which withholds from local school districts any state funds for the education of children who were not "legally admitted" into the United States, and which authorizes local school districts to deny enrollment to such children, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. When this decision was made, several justices dissented and suggested that this decision should be revisited if illegal immigrants had a negative impact on our school children.

This leads me to my question; Do legal children of the United States have the right to attend public school without being subjected to illegal behavior? Do our public school teachers have the right to work in an environment free of criminal behavior?

If a person is in the United States illegally are they breaking the law? I think so, because if they were not breaking the law why would they be called illegal immigrants? When I hear illegal I think of something that is wrong and something that I do not want to participate in.

I would not want to work in an environment where I was around illegal behavior. I do not choose to associate with individuals that break the law and I am trying to teach my children to be law abiding citizens.

I underatand that part of the reasoning used in deciding Pyler v. Doe was based on children not being held responsible for their parents illegal behavior, but at what age is a child held accountable for their own illegal behavior? I think in most cases it is usually around the age of 10 to 12.

The current estimates show there are 1.5 million illegal aliens in Texas. When the costs are broken down it comes to a total of $725 a year per taxpaying household to cover the costs of education, health care and incarceration of illegal aliens throughout the state. Based on estimates of the illegal immigrant population in Texas and documented costs of K-12 schooling, Texans spend more than $4 billion annually on education for illegal immigrant children and for their U.S.-born siblings. About 11.9 percent of the K-12 public school students in Texas are children of illegal aliens. 40% of the illegal immigrants in the United States have entered the US in the last 5 years.

If illegal immigrant children attend public school and talk about their illegal status as if it is not wrong, how are we going to teach a generation of children to respect the law?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can understand the frustration. It is a sad world. I like you am trying my best to teach my kids the same values, and morals, and it is so hard. I don't want my kids to be prejudice, but when you have "spanish" kids (illegal?) in the 4th and 5th grade calling your own children the "B BAD WORD" and flipping them off, how do you expect your kids to not be prejudice? I know that the world is filled with bad people of ALL colors, my oldest daughter's best friend is spanish, but then it is kids like I just described that gives them bad names. Needless to say, I will be up at my kid's school first thing in the AM to talk with the principal. thank you for your post.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok well the first comment that was posted seemed very wrong to me.I think you are racist. and guess what it is probably your kids calling hispanics yes they are hispanic not spanish! and guess what your kids call hispanic kids beaners and (b words) and everything else so guess what if you dont want your kids to be in a public scool because there are hispanic kids there then you are not trying to let your kids talk to kids of every race and doing that you are just going against god. which your blog talks about god a coule of times. so i am very frustarted right now

8:07 PM  

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