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N.C. District Pursues More Volunteer Opportunities for Undocumented Parents

Crossposted from K-12 Parents and the Public

By Karla Scoon Reid

School district officials in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C. are proposing a change to their current volunteer policy that would permit undocumented parents to participate in some school activities.

According to the Charlotte-Observer, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district would accept passports and consulate identification documents from parents who want to volunteer. After undergoing a criminal background check, those parents would be allowed to volunteer under the supervision of a district employee. 

The district's current policy required all school volunteers to undergo a criminal background check by providing their Social Security number and driver's license. Undocumented immigrants, people who do not reside legally in the U.S., wouldn't have that identification, prohibiting them from volunteering in schools.

Those volunteers seeking unsupervised access to students—for chaperoning field trips or tutoring, for example—must still provide a Social Security number and valid North Carolina ID, according to the story. 

LaTarzja Henry, assistant superintendent for family engagement for Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, told the Charlotte Observer the volunteer policy will clear the path for all kinds of parents, not just undocumented parents, to be more involved in their children's schools. Superintendent Heath Morrison has yet to approve the proposed volunteer policy changes.

While a local immigrant advocacy group applauded the policy change, the story notes that the proposal drew criticism from Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James, who questioned how the district could verify the authenticity of documents and identification not issued by the federal or state government.

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