Student fights back after consideration for admission to NCSSM denied
Posted May 25, 2016
Durham, N.C. — A high school sophomore is fighting back after the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics said the school cannot consider him for admission.
The teenager, whose identity was not made public, and his family, filed a lawsuit on May 18 challenging the admissions policy at the Durham school.
The school said it can consider only permanent North Carolina residents for enrollment. The student is from Mexico and came to the state with his parents when he was a toddler.
In a letter from the school, Chancellor J. Todd Roberts said that, due to the student's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, the student is ineligible for admission to the school.
"I regret to inform you that we cannot consider your application for admission to NCSSM," the letter said.
Under President Barack Obama's executive action in 2012, the student was given permission to be in the country, but it is only temporary, and it does not grant him citizenship.
According to court records, the school said the students in the DACA program are not eligible for enrollment consideration because they are not permanent residents of the state.
"(The student) has grown up in North Carolina and considers it to be his home," said Kate Woomers-Deters, a staff attorney at the North Carolina Justice Center in Raleigh. "We are saying that, under federal law – and we believe that federal law controls the situation – under federal law, we believe he is considered a legal resident of North Carolina and under North Carolina state law."
Records also show that the school looked for guidance from the state on the decision.
In an advisory letter, the state Attorney General's Office backed the school. The letter said such students "would not be eligible for admission to, and enrollment at NCSSM."
WRAL News reached out to the school for comment, but did not hear back.