Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Schools Prepare for Increase in Unaccompanied Minors

With thousands of children from Central America flocking over the border — many of them without their parents — schools are now bracing for a bump in enrollment.

Apprehended children are being held at detention centers in states along the Mexican border. But other children are making their way further into the United States.

Many of the children are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and have emotional needs, as well as educational. That means schools are also leaning on social service agencies.

“We are finding a much greater need for mental-health support for these students,” Karen Woodson, the director of the ESL and bilingual programs for Montgomery County, Md. schools, told Education Week. “They’ve endured incredible trauma, and even when they are reunified with a family member, they might be facing a situation where their mom has a new husband and they are living with siblings that they have never met.”

The publication also reported that the Miami-Dade County Schools has requested additional federal funding in order to educate the increase of children, particularly from Honduras.

You may want to check with your local school system to see if they have experienced an influx of such children, or are preparing for one. What steps are they taking to assist the children?

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles made headlines this week after offering three vacant schools to house migrant children who may be relocated to the city after officials said they could take in 2,000 children. He also made reference to the children’s education.

“If they are in our district come August, we will want to help educate them. I don’t know if that’s a role we will be asked to play, but that is my commitment,” Miles said, according to The Dallas Morning News.