Human Rights Advocacy Program training video to focus on education access

After years of research, the Brandeis Human Rights Advocacy Program has found that many educators in Kentucky are uninformed about how to respond when an undocumented child attempts to enroll in public school.

To that end, student fellows in the program are creating a training video aimed at educating principals in Jefferson County Public Schools.

"Our hope is that it spreads awareness," says Briana Lathon, a Human Rights fellow and a third-year student at the Brandeis School of Law.

The video, funded by a grant from the Louisville Bar Foundation, will strive to outline the legal requirements of public schools in a way that its easy to digest. Lathon hopes it will be available by February 2018.

The training video is an extension of HRAP's Educational Access Project, which researches the ways that public schools in Kentucky are applying the 1982 Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe, which found that that all children have the right to a public education regardless of immigration status.

Once the video is completed, the fellows will offer it to JCPS principals as a resource for educators, perhaps to be viewed during inservice days. They will also make it available to ESL teachers and the district's ESL Newcomer Academy, which serves sixth to tenth graders who are English language learners.

The fellows also hope to develop quick facts about the laws governing access to public education for undocumented students that can be displayed in schools' lobbies and shared with front desk staff.

For Lathon, working on the video project has been a valuable experience. 

"I like when I get a chance to take what I've learned and done with HRAP and combine that with work I've done in a community in a way that makes a meaningful impact," she says.