Is Georgia's New Immigration Law Affecting Local School Systems?

By: Donnitra Gilbert Email
By: Donnitra Gilbert Email

Thomasville, GA -- August 8, 2011 --

Classes are back in session across South Georgia, but Eyewitness News wanted to find out whether the Thomas County School System is being affected by Georgia's new immigration law. Based on our findings, the new law hasn't changed much in local schools.

Meet Agustin Gonzales and his parents. Tuesday will be his first day in Kindergarten.

Agustin's parents enrolled him at Hand-in-Hand Elementary with high hopes of giving him what they couldn't get themselves: an education. But many immigrants are now worried that their kids will not have that chance because of House Bill 87.

"I do understand that the law created some fear when it first passed," says Thomas County Schools Superintendent Dusty Kornegay.

The bill was signed into law on July 1, 2011 and school staff tell us that's the day fear was inked into the lives of many illegal immigrants.

"We have a couple of people who already moved because of the law," says Hand- In- Hand Elementary School teacher Diana Searcy

Something Principal Jeanna Mayhall says is unnecessary.

"We don't care if they're black, white, Hispanic. We don't keep count of that," says Mayhall.

There are more than five thousand students in Thomas County classrooms and, of those, 185 are Hispanic.

Kornegay says his staff will not monitor whether students are illegal immigrants or not. He also says all students in the area are welcome to an equal education.

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