Equity & Diversity

2nd Grader Asks First Lady About Immigration

By Mary Ann Zehr — May 20, 2010 1 min read

I just read the Washington Post‘s story today about how a 2nd grader blurted out to first lady Michelle Obama that her mom didn’t have “papers” to live legally in this country.

What stands out for me is the principal’s response to the Post reporter who asked her about the incident. “The parents trust me that this is a safe place,” the principal said. Given the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Plyler v. Doe, it is an appropriate response. That’s the ruling that said children have a right to a free K-12 education in this country regardless of immigration status. And it would be an appropriate response even if the court hadn’t ruled in such a way.

School and society should be a “safe place” for children.

Update: The Post followed up with another article with different people’s views about the significance of the interaction between the 2nd grader and the first lady.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.