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School resource officers should not inquire about the immigration status of a student or a student’s family, according to new guidance issued last month by the state commissioner of education, MaryEllen Elia, and the attorney general, Letitia James.

The department’s letter states students’ right to attend school full-time trumps any agreements sheriff’s offices may hold with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, so resource officers should not detain or question students for the purpose of determining their immigration status.

“Such questioning by an SRO — or the absence of a district policy prohibiting such questioning — could subject the district to liability for significantly deterring a student’s right to obtain an education, as set forth above,” the letter said.

The letter also included a recommendation to include language in contracts with law enforcement agencies that provide SRO services to restrict the access and re-disclosure of students’ personally identifiable information.

Elia and James said SROs can perform an important role in keeping a safe environment in schools and the role applies to all students, regardless of immigration status.

Musical every year

The Glens Falls High School Drama Club came to the district’s monthly school board meeting Monday night to voice support for having a musical every spring rather than the alternating schedule they are on currently.

Cate Barclay, Catherine Hayes, Amelia Elmen, Ryan Dieffenbach and Heather Hayes addressed the board during the public comment portion and said the rotation between a musical one year and a standard drama the next makes them less competitive when applying to collegiate Fine Arts programs. Changing it would give them parity with many other schools in the area, including Queensbury and Hudson Falls.

“No one would ask a sports team to only play every other year. It would put the students and the team at a huge disadvantage,” Catherine Hayes said.

The students argued the request goes beyond the drama club, because the show gets other students involved in the technical aspects and forms relationships that may not happen otherwise.

“Not every boy plays football or baseball,” Dieffenbach said. “It gives more people an opportunity to make new friends.”

Superintendent Paul Jenkins said he is not opposed to the idea, but he has to make sure there are enough people willing to help.

“It’s very time-intensive and very labor-intensive, so having the people to do it is really what’s necessary. We have to make sure we have the right people in place for that to happen,” Jenkins said.

Cuomo signs concussion law

Tackle football programs are now required to provide parents with informational packets on concussions, since Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law last Tuesday.

The law extends to any practice, game or other activity in which children play tackle football, whether it’s organized by a school or recreational league, according to a release from the governor’s office.

Cuomo said in the release the scientific evidence of the long-term effects of concussions and sub-concussive hits is growing, and it is important to provide parents and children with the latest information.

“Parents should have the facts when it comes to the wellbeing of their children and access to this information will help with decision-making and encourage best practices on the field,” Cuomo said.

New BOCES logo

Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES released a new logo and tagline last week, seen here, as part of an effort to refocus the organization and highlight the cooperation of the five member counties.

BOCES unveils new logo

The start of the school year comes with a new look for the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex BOCES, which has announced a new logo and tagline.

BOCES Superintendent Jim Dexter announced last week after the rebranding of several divisions of the organization, it was time to focus on the organization as a whole.

“We wanted to graphically portray our five counties working together, as a cooperative, for the benefit of the school districts and school children we serve,” Dexter said in a release. “We have an outstanding staff and outstanding programs. We believe it is important to capture that positive feeling.”

The school’s conference center has also moved to a new location on Ballard Road in Wilton. There will be an open house and ribbon cutting for the new facility from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 11.

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Samuel Northrop is the education reporter for The Post-Star. He can be reached at snorthrop@poststar.com.

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