CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As the school year is about to begin the New York Attorney General’s Office reminds us that every student in New York has the right to a free public education, and the asylee students in our area shipped up from New York City are included. NEWS10 spoke with two districts in the Capital Region to discuss how they are preparing for the new year with asylum seeker kids in attendance.
As parents and school officials in the Capital Region prepare to get back into the classroom, children of asylum seekers are also getting ready to start school. Mohonasen Superintendent, Shannon Shine, says that in the beginning communication with DocGo, the company contracted by NYC to care for the aslyees, was not very good.
Shine says the district now communicates regularly with the company and says they now have a better understanding of the needs of the asylum seeker children for their education.
“This has kind of been at breakneck speed. We were not apprised of the asylum seekers coming until they were already here, and then it took a couple of weeks, frustratingly to get access so that we can enroll the students. But we were finally successful,” said Shine.
At Mohonasen, all school supplies, no matter their family income level, are provided to students as part of the Mohon CARES program.
“We’re trying to systematically remove barriers to access for high quality education and educational experience. We realize some of our families and increasing a large number that basic school supplies or somewhat burdensome, so we started with basic school supplies,” said Shine.
Principal, Jason Thompson, Pinewood Elementary says there is one thing not normally provided to students.
“The pieces that we don’t provide is backpacks. And so, that’s the missing component that we needed every family to be able to provide their own backpacks for the school year,” said Thompson. Something he says is going to be different, this year. “We are providing backpacks courtesy of Christ Child’s Society to all of our students that are joining us at Pinewood.”
At the North Colonie Central School District, officials say they will be receiving asylum seeker students there, as well. In a statement, the district says that it “has completed the registration process for approximately 40 children of asylum seekers living in our district. These students have completed the entire onboarding process necessary to begin school on September 7th. As always, we would like to thank many local organizations for helping to meet some of the needs of our North Colonie families.”
A spokesperson for the school district says all vaccine and immunization requirements have been met as a part of the enrollment process. However, Mohonasen will have an immunization clinic this week for the students there.