Lynn, Mass., Mayor Judith Kennedy recently claimed that many undocumented students who go to the public schools in her city are adults who say they are between the ages of 14 and 17.
“They are not all children,” Mayor Kennedy said at a press conference hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, noted CNSNews.com (audio below).
“One of the things that we did notice when we were processing some of these students coming in was that they were adults,” added Mayor Kennedy. "The vast majority were claiming to between 14 and 17 years old."
“But there were people with graying temples, hair around the temples,” stated Mayor Kennedy. “There were people with more wrinkles than I have around their eyes.”
Mayor Kennedy admitted that she didn't actually see the adult students, but did view pictures of them.
"We were told through a director at the Department of Justice that we were not to question or verify, or attempt to verify these ages," said Mayor Kennedy.
“We have no ability to confront a student directly and demand an accurate age,” Mayor Kennedy stated. “Every once in a while, we’ll be able to determine that someone is well above the age at which they would be entitled to an education in the Lynn public schools."
Mayor Kennedy claimed that truant officers who visit the homes of absent students are sometimes told the student is at work, including one incident in which a student turned out to be 35 years old.
In May, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement to public schools that made no mention of not asking ages, just not requiring birth certificates:
As with residency requirements, rules vary among State s and districts as to what documents students may use to show they fall within State - or district - mandated minimum and maximum age requirements, and jurisdictions typically accept a variety of documents for this purpose.
A school district may not bar a student from enrolling in its schools because he or she lacks a birth certificate or has records that indicate a foreign place of birth, such as a foreign birth certificate.
In the state of Massachusetts (where the Lynn public schools reside), the age range to attend public schools is 3 to 21, which is not set by the federal government, but by the state.