Refugees sue PA school district because their free public school is unsatisfactory

Refugees sue PA school district because their free public school is unsatisfactory
(Image: Screen grab via Fox News)

Here they come: the refugee lawsuits.

We had to know there were a lot of people in the professional ranks of left-wing activism just waiting to make clients of the refugees arriving in soaring numbers in the United States.  These activists have seen illegal migrants from Latin America as a source of endless litigation for years.  Now they’ve got immigrants from Somalia, Sudan, Burma, and Democratic Republic of Congo to fill their waiting rooms and bank accounts.

It’s the ACLU, in this case, that’s helping six refugees sue a school district in Lancaster, Pennsylvania over the unsatisfactory arrangement made for their free taxpayer-funded education in the public schools.

The ages of the students in question range from 17 to 21, and not all of them speak English.  They very much don’t fit the normal profile of students at McCaskey High School, and so were assigned by the district to an alternative school, Phoenix Academy.  But Phoenix Academy is just not working out for the six, according to their court filing.  So they’re suing.

Apparently, they want to get into McCaskey High, although that isn’t precisely clarified in the news stories.

One of their complaints is that the security measures at Phoenix Academy – which sounds like a fairly typical school district’s alternative school for struggling high school students – are traumatizing and demeaning.

Qassim Hassan, a Somali refugee whose father was killed by militiamen in that country, said of the security procedures in place at Phoenix Academy: “It makes me hate the school and hate the system. It makes me feel bad.”

Speaking through an interpreter, he said of his experience there: “I did not find the school that I deserved.”

Another is that their ESL (English as a second language) instruction moves too fast and leaves them behind.

The school district’s attorneys point out that McCaskey has school security too, and there is nothing about its ESL program that is superior to Phoenix Academy’s.  They’ve argued on behalf of the school district that the older refugee students are best served by an environment that focuses on academics, and has fewer extracurricular distractions than the regular high school.

But the ACLU is having none of it.  Here’s the substance of the lawsuit:

[S]chool district officials are accused of having repeatedly denied or delayed enrollment for refugee students in violation of the federal Equal Education Opportunities Act. The suit also claims district administrators routinely sent older refugee students to a “disciplinary school” that subjected them to bullying, intense security protocols and an accelerated learning program that runs counter to conventional wisdom on the subject.

Just a couple of thoughts.  One, take a moment to think how many Americans alive at this very moment can talk about how their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents – people they’ve known personally – took responsibility for their own educational improvement when they came to America.

Even when it wasn’t handed to them on a silver platter.  When they couldn’t do it just like everyone else – when the system didn’t turn itself inside out to play pretend about their circumstances – millions of immigrants buckled their belts, pulled their boots on, and got it done anyway.

Instead of complaining, they were grateful for what was offered to them for free.  Communities of immigrants came together to make sure their children would succeed.  They did what the hard-working middle class people in America do: they worked harder, caught up, got ahead.

And yes, they came from deeply traumatic backgrounds themselves.  Bosnians in the 1990s.  Vietnamese and Cuban boat people.  Chinese and Koreans fleeing communist armies.  The millions displaced in the upheavals of the world wars.  Holocaust survivors.  Jews driven brutally from their homes in the pogroms of a century ago.  Before them, Irish and Poles, Hungarians, Germans, Italians, all “enclosed” or conquered or regime-changed off their lands in the 19th century.

The other thought is this.  The ACLU sure is picky about when it approves of suing school districts over which school they put students in.

If these were American-born students demanding what they perceived to be a better educational opportunity, the ACLU would tell them “school choice” is a deceptive expression used for political purposes, and will lead inevitably to taxpayer-funded institutions forcing people to pray to Jesus.  (The ACLU’s opposition to school choice is long established, and can be easily verified with any online search.  Here’s another link to start with; see here and here as well.)

Regardless of your race, ethnicity, or income level, if you’re an American born, the ACLU doesn’t want you having the choice to reject the arrangements the school district has made for you.  If you’re an American citizen, your task is to shut up, go to the school you’re assigned, pay for the schools you’re told to pay for, and if you want anything else, find the additional money to pay for it yourself.

But if you’re an immigrant who has yet to pay for anything, the ACLU is determined that you should have a right taxpaying Americans shouldn’t have: to demand, precisely, school choice.

And the ACLU – like the entire progressive left – calls this “equal opportunity.”

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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