Rocky Point School District this year ended its longtime practice of requiring social security numbers from children attending its schools, a move encouraged statewide by the New York State Education Department.
The state department had recieved pressure from the New York Civil Liberties Union, which said the parctice discriminated against the children of illegal immigrants, to end the practice and keep children's immigration status private. The NYCU pointed to a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled the children of undocumented aliens could not be deprived of public education.
Of the 644 districts in the state, 169 had required social security numbers or resident alien identification from students, according to Jennifer Carnig, director of communications for the NYCLU.
And though Carnig and state education department spokesperson Jonathan Burman both said they were unaware of any case where a child was rejected from a public school because of immigration status, the education department issued a memo to all state schools stating, "undocumented children have the right to attend school full time as long as they meet the age and residency requirements established by state law."
Rocky Point Superintendent Michael Ring said he was unaware how long the local school district had required social security numbers from students, but he's pleased the state outlined the correct procedure. He added other state schools will likely feel the same.
The nearby Miller Place Union Free School District has never required social security numbers from students.
Burman said he's unaware of any complaints beyond those of the NYCLU on the matter.