Plyler v. Doe, a Supreme Court case that addressed access to public education for undocumented children, concluded in 1982 that all children have the right to a public education regardless of immigration status.
The Brandeis Human Rights Advocacy Project is investigating how this decision is applied on the ground in public schools in Kentucky. Student fellows, volunteers and faculty advisors are replicating research that was performed by the ACLU in New Jersey to identify any potential barriers that undocumented children and their families may experience while enrolling in public schools.
The ACLU New Jersey research found in 2008 that more than 20 percent of schools were not in compliance with the law and created a barrier for immigrant children or families. The initial findings in Kentucky show some confusion about how schools should respond when an undocumented child attempts to enroll, particularly the perceived necessity of immunization records and a Social Security number.