05/24/2012 11:15 am ET

ACLU: Half Of Florida School Districts Mislead Parents On Social Security Number Laws

About half of Florida’s school districts -- including Broward County's -- mislead parents into thinking that providing a social security number for their children is mandatory, according to a study from the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

Federal law states students are not required to provide their social security numbers to schools, granting the right to education to all children, even those who are undocumented.

“No one wins when kids are not in school,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, in a statement. “It’s sad and surprising that so many school districts would disregard the law and, as a result, fail to keep an open door on the schoolhouse.”

The ACLU of Florida ranked the state’s schools on compliance with the law, awarding 34 districts with an "A" grade including Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Broward Public Schools, however, received a D along with 11 other districts.

The ACLU of Florida fears this could negatively impact immigrant families.

“Every Florida child has a constitutional right to an education, and having a Social Security number is not required to attend a public school,” Simon said. “We cannot allow districts to give the false impression that Social Security numbers are required for enrollment and run the risk that children could be hidden from view and out of the classroom simply because their parents fear a legal review of their status.”

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