Prince George’s County Public Schools hopes establishing two English-language schools focusing on immigrant students will improve the dropout rates among Hispanic and Latino students, but the NAACP calls the plan illegal segregation.
Maryland Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk supports the plan.
“As a person who came to this country, and English is my second language, I can see the value in having these schools,” she said. “It would have made life a lot easier.”
Prince George’s County NAACP chapter President Bob Ross says it’s unfair to separate one group of students from the majority. He believes these schools, which already exist in D.C., Virginia and New York, are illegal.
“You set a dangerous precedent when you start segregating a population of people out,” Ross said. “That goes in contrast Brown vs. the Board of Education and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.”
The NAACP is willing to legally stop the schools if there is not a negotiation, Ross said.
“We understand the need but it must stay within the boundaries of the law,” he said.
The dismal graduation rates among immigrants in Prince George’s deserves swift action, not a political fight, Pena-Melnyk said.
“Forget whether they are international, foreign,” she said. “Do you want to give a child a chance to reach their potential.”
The school system plans to move forward and is looking for principals to start creating programs for the schools.