Refugees Sue PA School District Because Their Free Public School Is “Unsatisfactory”

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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.

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