Undocumented Students in The Public School System
On March 15 2013, I arrived at P.S. 20 for an interview with Bilingual Social Worker, Mrs. Astrid Pacheco. The schools exact geographic location reads: 161 Park Avenue, Staten Island NY, 10302. It was obvious from the size of the building that this was a small school. Upon entering the main doors, I was greeted by the school’s safety agent who required detailed information for the purpose of our visit. After confirmation from Mrs. Pacheco, I was handed a pass, and the process began. The interview took place in a surprisingly small office. Mrs. Pacheco is the only Social Worker at the school, and she shares the tiny office space with four other employees: a Psychologist, A family Worker, an Occupational Therapist and a Physical Therapist. I immediately thought about client confidentiality, and if it were possible while sharing an already small office space. The official meeting started with introductions and questions pertaining to why my group and I want to be in the field of Social Work. Mrs. Pacheco then apologized for the lack of privacy and went straight into explaining that, due to lack of funding and funding reduction, she’s had to share the office for the three years she has been working at P.S. 20. I learnt that for years the workers have petitioned for grants to expand the school, with hopes of providing more office space for the workers and additional classrooms for a more comfortable learning experience. According to Dubois and Miley (2011), “Grants are sums of money awarded to social service organizations that submit applications to fund particular programs and services.” (p.89)
P.S. 20 houses 500 students, has three floors and ninety percent of the student population speak only Spanish. This topic was a major concern to me. I asked Mrs. Pacheco, based on the fact that majority of her students were native...
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