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Collier County schools face lawsuit for segregating students

Every child deserves an education. Both state and federal laws protect this right, and if your child is denied an education, you can seek help from an attorney to make sure your child has every chance to succeed. In Florida, some children who are immigrants have been banned from enrolling in high school. Instead, those children have been offered a place in an adult English program, which would not allow them to get credit toward a high school diploma.

So, what's the problem? These children wouldn't be receiving a high school education at all. Families trying to enroll their children at the local high school in Collier County have said they could only get their children into the language classes without any basic subject instruction. On top of that, the students wouldn't be able to participate in high school enrichment programs or extracurricular activities; essentially, they'd be completely segregated from their English-speaking peers.

This case has gone to court, and it's claimed that Collier County has the responsibility to provide the children with high school educations, not just English language classes. Three of the students in the lawsuit had recently come to the United States when they were denied entry into the school.

In 2013, the Collier County School Board stated that the maximum age a student could enroll if the student wasn't on track to graduate within the next two years. What that did was force most English language learners age 16 or older to miss a high school education, because they're seen as being behind academically.

This is in conflict with state laws that encourage students 16 and older to stay in school and encourages schools to take an active role in making sure that happens. It's believed the school is in violation of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act among other civil rights acts.

Source: Southern Poverty Law Center, "Florida county denies education to immigrant kids, sparks SPLC lawsuit," May 18, 2016

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