MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Education is reacting to news that enrollment and attendance of Hispanic school children has plummeted since the state's new immigration law went into effect last week.
"Alabama's public schools welcome all children regardless of their race or ethnic background, birthplace or birthplace of parents..." the Alabama Department of Education (ALSDE) said.
The Education Department, seeking to calm fears of those scared their children's documentation may somehow lead them to legal trouble, said it wanted to clear up confusion.
To alleviate any confusion regarding Section 28 of Act No. 2011-535, referred to as Alabama's Immigration Law, the Alabama Department of Education would like to clarify details specific to enrollment and attendance in public schools.
The new immigration law addresses schools, specifically in Section 28, when it requires all students enrolling in Alabama public schools to show an original or certified copy of their birth certificate. The requirement affects all students enrolling on or after Sept. 29, 2011 in order to complete the enrollment process.
"We would like all parents and students to know, regardless of whether the enrolling student has an original or certified copy of their birth certificate, the student will be enrolled and receive full participation in all of the academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular programs that will be offered by the local school system. The information that we are required to collect under the Act will not be used to individually identify your child. The information will be used to report statistical data to the Legislature."
The number of absentee Hispanic students STATEWIDE on Wednesday, September 28, before notice or official word of Immigration law, Sec. 28 came out = 1172
The number of absentee Hispanic students STATEWIDE on Friday, September 30, after notice or official word of Immigration law, Sec. 28 came out = 2011
The number of absentee Hispanic students STATEWIDE on Monday, October 3, = 2285
The Education Department urged parents to continue sending their children to classes, adding that once a child is registered, they're enrolled until they withdraw or graduate.