Feds: Ala. immigration law boosts bullying
letter, which was made public on Thursday, Perez points out that immediately following the law’s implementation, Hispanic student absence rates “tripled,” and that the rate of Hispanic student withdrawals from school has “substantially increased” compared to prior school years, with more than 13 percent of them dropping out between the beginning of the school year and February.
These conclusions were drawn from a preliminary review of the data that the Alabama Department of Education submitted to the Justice Department in April.
Perez also cited interviews with students, parents, teachers and administrators, cautioning that some schools have become “less safe and welcoming spaces for Hispanic students.”
“Hispanic children reported increased anxiety and diminished concentration in school deteriorating grades, and increased hostility, bullying and intimidation,” Perez said.
The Alabama immigration law is widely considered the toughest in the nation, and after going into effect last year, it was reported that hundreds of Hispanic students had stopped showing up in school — attributed in part to Hispanic families moving out of the state altogether to avoid being targeted by the new law.
While some of the controversial provisions of the law have been pulled back, the law caused widespread fear and worry among some of Alabama’s ethnic minority groups.
Alabama’s Education Department spokeswoman Malissa Valdes-Hubert told POLITICO Friday morning that 1,374 Hispanic students were absent from the state’s public schools on May 2, out of a total of 33,182 K-12 students in the state. In past years, absentees numbered around 900 to 1,000 for any given day.