Our job is to provide a high-quality, responsive education for all students in our school system to achieve every student succeeding. As educators, we can create a warm and caring climate where our students can thrive. To reinforce that ACPS is an inclusive environment for all students, the School Board has written a message on inclusiveness and equity. Additionally, the City of Alexandria’s statement on inclusiveness by the Alexandria City Council has been posted in each school.
Below is additional information on ACPS procedures.
- All students, including those who are undocumented, have a clear Constitutional right to attend public school.
- ACPS does not solicit, collect or release immigration-related information as to whether a particular student may be undocumented. Releasing a student’s undocumented status would impinge on the student’s constitutional right to attend school and could violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as FERPA.
- If immigration authorities sought confidential student information, ACPS would follow the same FERPA procedures as it does in responding to similar requests for other law enforcement authorities.
- In a published 2011 guidance memo, the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stated that its agents will not conduct questioning, or apprehend, of individuals in sensitive places such as schools or churches unless there is some emergency or other exceptional situation.
- Please note: In a situation where federal immigration officials do seek to question an individual at school, under federal immigration law they do have the right to do so. ACPS officials would verify their credentials and inquire as to what the emergency is that’s prompting the action at school, but cannot prohibit federal immigration officials from doing their job, even at school, if they insist on doing so.
- In the event a student is questioned, ACPS school officials would adhere to School Board Policy KNAJ (PDF), which provides that the student’s parents should be notified, and if unavailable, an administrator should sit in on any questioning.
- As school employees, we should not be in the practice of providing legal guidance to families. These situations can be very complex, and the last thing anyone wants to do is give incorrect information to students and families. There are a number of supports in the community offering these legal and technical services.
We know that this can be an emotional time for all students including those who are documented. If you see any students struggling, please utilize the Student Support Team (SST) staff in your building to assist these students. Our goal remains to serve all students in our schools. Please remember that during these anxious times that families and students are looking to you as a calming and stable influence. If you need additional emotional support, there are services available through the Department of Human Resources.
Below we have included a number of resource documents to support your work with students and families. We will continue to review resources as they are developed, and additional materials may be sent out by the ACPS Department of Student Services, Alternative Programs and Equity (DSSAPE), as appropriate. Please do not hesitate to contact your school administrator or DSSAPE if you have any questions.
Statements and Resources from ACPS
- A Message from the School Board Regarding the Principles of Inclusiveness and Equity
- Video: ACPS Inclusion y Equidad
- Video: Presentation to the School Board - Resources for Supporting our Immigrant Students
Related School Board Policies
- Policy AC: Non-discrimination (PDF)
- Policy AD: Educational Philosophy of the Alexandria City Public Schools (PDF)
- Policy GBA/JFHA: Sexual Harassment/Harassment/Harassment Based on Race, National Origin, Disability, Religion, Gender, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sexual Orientation (PDF)
- Policy JB: Equal Educational Opportunities/Non-discrimination (PDF)
- Policy JEC: School Admissions (PDF)
- Policy KNAJ: Relations with Law Enforcement Authorities (PDF)
Statements from the City of Alexandria and Virginia Department of Education
- Alexandria City Council Issue Statement on Inclusiveness
- Frequently Asked Questions about Immigration Enforcement
- Virginia Department of Education: Guidance Regarding School Division Responsibilities and Actions Under the Law in Reference to Students and Immigration
- Helping Students in Troubling Times - American School Counseling Association
- Guidance for Reinforcing Safe, Supportive and Positive School Environments for All Students - National Association of School Psychologists
- Supporting Marginalized Students in Stressful Times: Tips for Educators - National Association of School Psychologists
- Supporting Vulnerable Students in Stressful Times: Tips for Parents - National Association of School Psychologists
- Immigrant and Refugee Children: A Guide for Educators and School Support Staff - Teaching Tolerance