Immigration Frequently Asked Questions

  • Your rights, immigration and resources at Roanoke County Public Schools

    Roanoke County Public Schools (RCPS) supports students, families and staff members. We provide a safe environment for students.  Many stakeholders have had questions regarding immigration, support services and appropriate instructional material. The following FAQ sheet is designed to address some of these inquiries.

    What impact does immigration status have on a student?

    Per federal law, RCPS does not collect immigration information about students or parents. Our obligation is to educate students who are residents of Roanoke County. Reference: Plyler v Doe 1982

    Does RCPS provide immigration information to federal immigration officials?

    Since federal law prohibits RCPS from asking about a student’s immigration status, RCPS does not have that information to provide to immigration officials. 

    What should parents and teachers do when students or their families express stress or concern over current events or feel bullied or harassed by others?

    All Roanoke County schools have school counseling services.  School counselors and administrators can speak to you about specifics regarding your child. We are here to continue instruction while also providing support as needed. Interpreters are available for parent meetings or conferences upon request.  Please contact the school counselor at your child’s school for more information.

    What can parents do to reassure their children?

    All families should reassure children that schools are a safe, welcoming environment. It is always a good idea to have your emergency contact information up to date. This can include relatives or neighbors who are allowed to pick up children in case of emergencies.

    Below there isa list of Roanoke Valley Community Offerings of resources and services available.

    Can teachers incorporate current events into their classroom plans?

    Teachers can discuss current issues as a portion of their curriculum as it is relevant to the curriculum and age-appropriate. When in doubt, teachers should discuss their plans with their principal and the appropriate curriculum supervisor.

    Policy 6.02 Controversial Issues: The Roanoke County School Board recognizes that preparation for effective citizenship is one of the major purposes of education.  The preparation for effective citizenship includes the study of issues that are controversial.  Such study will be carried out in an atmosphere free from bias, prejudice, or coercion.

    In teaching about controversial issues, teachers are expected to:
     -establish a learning environment where each student can study the issues within a curriculum that is appropriate to     his or her knowledge and maturity; and
     -provide instruction in an atmosphere that is free from bias, prejudice, or coercion.

    Although the instructional program includes study of the political party system in the United States, the School Board does not endorse any political party or candidate.

    A bibliography of Education through readings is listed below. Many of these are in school libraries. Exploring different cultures and viewpoints could be part of government, sociology, world language classes, global studies and so on. Teachers must determine the best method of remaining impartial and allowing for differing points of view while maintaining control in the classroom. Discussions should only occur in a respectful manner.

    Roanoke Valley Community Offerings and Services 

    Information to share with ELL students, families or folks who would like to volunteer or learn

    Commonwealth Catholic Charities-resettlement for immigrants with refugee status, translation services [540.342.7561]
    Needs: clothing and household items; possible to adopt a family at holiday time, transportation for groceries, doctors’ appointments etc.

    For additional information on Adult English Lessons or other community services or volunteer opportunities, please contact:
    Dr. Paula Newbill
    ELL and World Language Coordinator
    (540)562-3900, ext. 10258

    The Virginia Department of Education released the following State Superintendent’s Memo Superintendent’s Memo 059-17: Guidance Regarding School Division Responsibilities and Actions Under the Law in Reference to Students and Immigration

    Education through readings 

    What is a refugee? YA books available

    One boy from Kosovo  Marx, Trish.  Published 2000                                
    Leaving Vietnam : the journey of Tuan Ngo, a boat boy Kilborne, Sarah S. Published 1999
    How many days to America? : A Thanksgiving story  Bunting, Eve, 1928- Published 1988
    My two blankets     Kobald, Irena, Published 2015
    How I learned geography    Shulevitz, Uri, 1935- Published 2008
    My name is Sangoel (This is a former Roanoke Co. reads choice and is available in all elementary schools and perhaps the middle schools).     Williams, Karen Lynn. Published 2009
    Lily's crossing (not a picture book)  Giff, Patricia Reilly.     Published 1997
    Muktar and the camels     Graber, Janet.          Published 2009
    Brothers in hope : the story of the lost boys of Sudan        Williams, Mary. 1967-      Published 2005 

    What is an immigrant?

    What is it like to be a part of multiple cultures?
    The House on Mango St. by Sandra Cisneros. Published 1984.
    At the Same Moment, Around the World by Clotilde Perrin
         [Chronicle   Search: Celebrating Diversity] 

    Why Am I Here? Hardcover – October 14, 2016
    by Constance Ørbeck-Nilssen (Author), Akin Duzakin (Illustrator)  
    This book is not “about” refugees, but would be a great tool to introduce the topic, fostering empathy towards others and their diverse living situations.  It’s realistic but spare, leaving out too much scary detail.