Pullman School District responds to worried parents about immigration status

From staff reports

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The Pullman school district superintendent released a statement on Monday outlining the district’s commitment to serving all students.

The statement, from superintendent Bob Maxwell, read, “We believe that it is the right of every child, regardless of immigration status, to access a free public K-12 education and we will continue to welcome and support all students.”

Maxwell said this was in response to concerned calls the district had received from parents on Thursday and Friday last week. He said that some parents were worried that their child’s enrollment in the free or reduced lunch program could negatively affect their immigration status.

Pullman School District officials wanted to assure parents that even though free or reduced lunches is a federal program, enrolling their children in it would not affect their immigration status. Maxwell said there are laws where undocumented immigrants cannot access certain government programs but the federal food program was not one of them.

Maxwell said that right now “there is a lot angst in the nation about immigration status.” Maxwell also said he believes other school districts in Washington state will be taking similar pledges in the coming weeks.

The Department of Homeland Security estimated there are about 260,000 undocumented immigrants living in the state, making it 10th highest in the nation.

Reporting by Carmen Jaramillo