Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District revises policy that fines parents $20,000 for lying about residency

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A controversial new policy in a Nassau school district could have parents facing a $20,000 fine if they're caught lying about who lives in their home.

Education expert Michael Cohen is blasting the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District for beefing up its residency requirements.

According to documents obtained by Newsday, families were directed to re-register their children in school and provide the names and birthdays of every person living in their house, including non-relatives.

They were also told the school district could make surprise inspections to verify residency. Anyone caught lying could have to pay $20,000.

The new procedure was unveiled amid cries from some residents to crack down on illegal housing.

“These are not the kinds of activities that school districts should be involved in,” says Cohen. “The job of the school district is to educate children, not to investigate abuses by landlords.”

The superintendent was questioned about the new policy last week. Shortly after that the English language residency forms on the district's website were changed, removing several of the controversial items.

However, when News 12 looked at the Spanish forms the new guidelines were still in place.

Elise De Castillo, of the American Refugee Center, says the district's failure to change the Spanish forms shows a double standard that treats immigrants unfairly.

“It shows they recognize that they've made a mistake, but they're only going to rectify the mistake as much as it pertains to non-Spanish speakers,” says Castillo. “What this indicates is that the rules are different for immigrants.”

According to a letter that went out to parents, the residency verification process is already underway. The revised policy is set to take full effect in July.

News 12 reached out the district and the superintendent multiple times for a comment but didn't hear back.

 

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