Students win the power to enroll in high school athletics regardless of immigration status!
OVNV parents, teachers, and students organized and released a petition demanding the eradication of a policy that prevented undocumented students from playing sports. In just one week, the petition gained national attention and ended with over 2,000 signatures. As a result, the LHSAA voted to amend a discriminatory policy.
Parents, teachers, and students stood together and demanded equal opportunities for our students, and we won. On Friday, January 25th, as a direct result of Our Voice Nuestra Voz (OVNV) members’ campaign to end discrimination against undocumented students, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) voted to allow students to enroll in sports without a social security number.
Prior to the vote, policy from the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) prevented undocumented students from participating in school sports. LHSAA bylaw 1.5.1 required students to give the last four digits of their social security number in order to enroll in athletics. Additionally, in a memo released on November 2nd by LHSAA Executive Director, Eddie Bonine, he stated that, “unless a student is coming through an approved foreign exchange program the student must have a social security number to be registered for LHSAA athletics.” Requiring a social security number creates a barrier preventing undocumented students from participating in the same educationally sponsored activities as their peers. High school athletics play an important role in the development of young people’s sense of community and self-confidence. No other state athletic program in the country asks for or requires a social security number to participate in high school sports.
In addition to being cruel and discriminatory, the policy also potentially violated the 14th amendment by discriminating against undocumented students, and US Justice Department and Department of Education guidelines stating that school districts are not permitted to ask about a student’s immigration status and that schools cannot require students to provide social security numbers in order to enroll in school.
Thank you to everyone that supported this campaign and signed the petition!