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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Several Florida school districts improperly ask for Social Security numbers, ACLU charges

Concerned that immigrant families might be discouraged from enrolling in Florida's public schools, the ACLU-Florida took a look at whether districts require parents to provide children's Social Security numbers in order to register.

It found that nearly half of the districts do not fully comply with federal law, which prohibits the such a requirement.

In its new Social Security Privacy Report Card, the ACLU stated that 34 of the state's 67 districts, including Hernando County, make perfectly clear that providing a Social Security number is completely optional, further disclosing that if the number is provided it will be used for limited internal purposes.

The others fell short in the organization's eyes. It gave Pasco County an F for being out of compliance with disclosure rules, Hillsborough County a D for having "deficient" compliance rules, and Pinellas County a "needs work," meaning that compliance varies from school to school.

In a letter to education commissioner Gerard Robinson, ACLU lawyer Julie Ebenstein urges the state to enforce compliance with the federal law and provide training to ensure that it is done correctly.

"All children in Florida have a right to public education -- regardless of their citizenship status," she wrote.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 23, 2012 11:11am]


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