Children should be able to attend school where live-in parents work

Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) has introduced a bill to allow children to attend school where their live-in working parents reside. SB 200 would update California’s school residency laws to ensure that live-in workers, such as nannies, caregivers, maids, and gardeners, whose children live at their place of employment are able to attend school in the district in which they work if they reside there for at least three days of the week.

“Many workers are required to live part or full-time with their employers to fulfill their duties while caring for others,” said Lara. “It is simply wrong to believe that certain workers are okay to hire for service-jobs but not okay for their children to attend local schools. This bill will keep families together and provide a fair shot for children of live-in workers to attend school conveniently where their parents work.”

“I am proud to stand with my colleague, Senator Lara, to support parents in enrolling their children in the school district in which they live and work for the majority of the school week,” said Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla (D-Concord), the principal co-author of the bill. “This bill will ensure equal educational access for children under these circumstances, with the intent of reducing the number of intimidating and demeaning investigative practices.”

In November 2014, reports came out of a second grade child of a full-time nanny who was kicked out of her school after the district hired a private investigator. The investigator determined that despite the girl, named Vivian, living and residing in the district five days a week, where her mother worked, she was not a resident and they proceeded to kick her out of school.

Despite the district’s ability to grant the child residency due to her mother’s employment, the district initially refused to let the child continue attending school. The district’s decision put the family in a difficult situation, where the child would have to be separated from her mother or the mother would have to quit her job. After community outrage, the district reversed its decision, but required the employer to become a legal guardian of the child.

“It is in a child’s best interest to reside with their parent, and attend school where the parent resides, when the parent resides in an employer’s home,” said Miriam Storch, the employer of Vivian’s mother Maria. “In Vivian’s case, her mother is a single parent so there is nowhere else for Vivian to go. This situation is not unique to Orinda and I applaud the Senator for addressing this critical issue.”

This is not an isolated problem. Across the state caregivers, nannies, and other workers whose jobs require them to stay overnight are faced with challenges over where their children can go to school. Districts across the state handle these issues differently.

For these workers, the nature of their employment affects far more than their commute. They should have the option to keep their family together and keep their children with them during the work week.

 

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Published: Feb. 26, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 46