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The Education Equity for Latinx Students project started in the fall of 2022 as part of our efforts to expand racial justice work on behalf of Idaho students, beginning with Latinx communities. Through an ongoing series of community listening sessions and interviews, we continue to learn about the unique and shared experiences of Latinx students in Idaho classrooms. Our leading question going into this work is “What obstacles are you facing as a Latinx student or parent, or as an educator serving Latinx students?” Our hope is to learn about many more Latinx students’ experiences, document these stories through our Education Story Collection efforts, and report on our findings.


Story Collection

Latinx students are a vital and growing part of Idaho. But many Latinx students continue to face racism, discrimination, and over-policing in the classroom every day. If you are a Latinx student or parent, or an educator working with Latinx students we would love to hear your story. Your voice matters! The interviews will allow ACLU staff to learn about the issues Hispanic/Latino/x students face, including issues of racism, discrimination, discipline, and policing in school. Your feedback will help inform future ACLU advocacy, programming, and communications efforts. Specifically, your responses will support a broader study on schools in Idaho that we hope to include in a published report and potentially as a story project on social media or on the ACLU of Idaho website. All content will be shared with consent and participants can chose to share anonymously.  

View the story consent form.

If you are a Latinx student or parent, or educator working with Latinx students, we’d love to hear from you. Please click on the link below to sign up if you are interested in talking with us and confidentially sharing your experiences. You can also Contact Rosseli Guerrero at rguerrero@acluidaho.org to sign up or for more details.

Share your education story with the ACLU of Idaho

Why Latinx students?

Latinx students are a growing and vital part of Idaho’s schools. Yet, their day-to-day experiences in the classroom vary greatly compared to their non-Latinx peers. This is because Latinx students, like all students attending public school in Idaho, attend classrooms that are increasingly under attack based on censorship and underfunding. In the past three years alone, students have been subject to censorship through book bans, removing books based that contain references to race, gender, and sexuality. The Idaho legislature has also sought to censor conversations about race through HB 377, a statewide anti-Critical Race Theory law passed in 2021. Idaho was also the first state to impose an outright ban on the participation of transgender student athletes. And classrooms remain largely underfunded, with Idaho ranking last in the nation in per-student spending.  


What’s more, schools across Idaho are significantly more hostile and unwelcoming for Latinx students. In school districts across the state, Latinx students are disproportionately receiving more suspensions and expulsions compared to their white peers. Latinx students also continue to face discrimination and racism in school, intergenerational experiences that their parents before them know about all too well. Additionally, Latinx students attend schools that are increasingly policed and surveilled.    

Although our final report will focus on a specific region of the state, it is important for us to acknowledge that many of the lived experiences we are learning about are not unique to one county or school district in Idaho and not unique to Latinx students. The instances of discrimination, disproportionate discipline, and policing that we are learning about echo the experiences of other students who are targeted based on their race, national origin, or skin color. This includes the experiences of Black and Tribal students. We hope the many conversations, research, and subsequent report resulting from this campaign are just the beginning of expanding our work around racial justice and education equity for students of color in Idaho. 

Education Equity

As our work defending, preserving, and advancing the rights of Idahoans continues to evolve, so does the many intersections of that work. The last several years have seen new attacks on public education. Misinformation and fear mongering have sought to silence discussions of race and gender. School board meetings and other public forums have become battle grounds for contentious discussions on how schools operate, how best to support students and their families, classroom curriculum and school funding, among other issues. In additon, we recognize that students of color in Idaho, in particularly Latinx students, are regularly subjected to overpolicing and dispropotionate school disciplinary policies based on racialized stereotypes. We understand that these issues are as systemic as they are historic.

While the ACLU of Idaho has not been deeply involved in issues surrounding public education in the past, we hope our current work in the area will allow us to better support education equity in Idaho. As described by ACLU National Education Equity Coordinator Harold Jordan, education equity is achieved “when all children get the resources and support they need and deserve to reach their full academic and social potential. And that they will get the attention and resources they need and deserve regardless of their background, language, race or ethnicity, economic profile, gender, disability, or immigration status.” 

Like other issue areas, we understand that to address education inequity in Idaho we must understand and address the historical and systemic hurdles at play-- hurdles that continue to negatively impact academic outcomes for students of color. Like other issue areas, we understand that to support education equity in Idaho, we must center the stories of our most impacted communities, collecting stories and providing resources for those communities to better advocate for their rights. Lastly, we understand that moving towards education equity means we continue to leverage the strength of our statewide partners and ACLU network to defend against attacks on education in the legislature, courts and Idaho communities. 

Education Equity Stories


Read Natalia's Story

Natalia is a third-generation Hispanic American. She has lived in Idaho with her family her whole life and currently attends Liberty Charter in Nampa. 

Read Graciela's Story

Graciela is a parent at the Caldwell School District. Two of her daughters have attended Caldwell High School and she has two younger children in the same district.  


Read Kristin's Story

Kristin is the oldest of five daughters who grew up in Nampa and Caldwell, Idaho. Growing up Kristin witnessed her parents deal with substance abuse and with that came food insecurity, violence, and homelessness. But, as Kristin explained, her education was very important to her because it was the tool that would remove her from those cycles.  


Read Brenda's Story

Brenda lives in Caldwell, Idaho with her mom and she recently graduated from Caldwell High School. Brenda’s Mexican and Native roots are very important to her. Her mom’s family has Aztec ancestry, and her dad is Apache. 


Read Enedina Story

Ever since her grandparents migrated from Texas, Enedina’s family has considered Idaho their home. Enedina grew up in Nampa and graduated from Nampa High School. Her two youngest children attended Roosevelt Elementary and Lone Star Middle in the Nampa School District, as well as Elevate Academy.  

Read Rolando's Story

Rolando was born in Guatemala. Alongside his parents, Rolando moved to the United States when he was seven years old. Rolando lives with his wife and children in Idaho, his children attend schools in Boise. 

Read Andy's Story

Andy was born in Nampa, Idaho. Both of his parents are from Sinaloa, Mexico and moved to Idaho in the 90s. Andy attended schools in the Boise Independent School District, including Whitney Elementary, South Junior High, and Boise Senior High School.  

Read Sonia's Story

Sonia is a Latina working in higher education in Idaho. She has been serving students at Idaho State University, where she is currently the Director for Undergraduate Research and Outreach, for almost 10 years. 


Read Miriam's Story

Miriam was raised in Jerome, Idaho. She also attended schools in Jerome, including Jefferson Elementary, Summit Elementary, Jerome Middle School, and Jerome High School. Both of her parents are from small ranchos in Mexico and immigrated to the States.  



Cristina was born in Burley, Idaho. When she was just seven years old, her father was deported, and her family had to move to Mexico. To be with her family, Cristina did not return to the United States for ten years. When she was a teenager, she moved without her parents and completed the last two years of high school in Twin Falls.  

a pictuure of Damaris against a grey background. Damaris is wearing a brown sweater and has silver rectangle glasses.

Read Damaris's Story

Damaris was born in Pocatello and raised in Blackfoot, Idaho. Along with her three siblings, she attended schools in Idaho, including Stoddard Elementary, Blackfoot Sixth Grade, Mountain View Middle, and Blackfoot High School. From a young age, Damaris loved reading and enjoyed spending time in her school library.


A picture of Alejandra centered from the shoulders up. Alejandra is wearing a dark blue shirt.

Read Alejandra's Story

Alejandra was born and raised in Chile. She immigrated to the United States more than 20 years ago, and she has lived in Idaho for the past seven years.  When she moved to Twin Falls, Alejandra worked as a school bus driver and later as a liaison for refugee and immigrant families in the Twin Falls School District. She also supported students at the College of Southern Idaho through the Multicultural Student Affairs Program. 

A picture of Chandra with her arms crossed, smiling confidently at the camera.

Read Chandra's story

Chandra has three daughters. Her youngest is in fourth grade, and her oldest daughters are in tenth and eleventh grade. Most of their lives, Chandra and her family have lived in Idaho and have attended schools in the Nampa School District. As Chandra shared, her daughters have always excelled in their academics and extracurriculars, including basketball, softball, and soccer. 

Read Natalie's story

Natalie was born in Twin Falls, Idaho and was raised in Jerome, where she attended school in the Jerome School District. Her parents both immigrated to the United States from Mexico. As Natalie shared, education plays a central role for her family. Her older sister attended the University of Idaho (UI), Natalie is also a student at UI, and her younger brother is in middle school.

A photo of Elizabeth and her family in portrait mode. Elizabeth is on the right wearing a red shirt with jeans and brown boots. They are in a living room. There is a Christmas tree and Christmas lights in the background.

Read Elizabeth's Story 

Elizabeth has four children. Her two youngest children currently attend elementary and high school in the Caldwell School District. A few years ago, Elizabeth and her family moved from California to Caldwell, Idaho, in part, because they wanted their children to grow up in a place safe from gang and criminal activity.  

A picture of Jennifer standing in front of a pond with palm trees around it. She wears glasses and has on a navy blue romper. She is standing confidently, looking at the camera with her right hand on her right hip.

Read Jennifer's Story

Jennifer grew up in Nampa, where she briefly attended a charter school before transferring to public schools in the Vallivue School District. As Jennifer shared, since an early age her parents were very involved and supportive in her education.

A photo of Deborah smiling. She is wearing a black jacket and a white scarf and black shirt. There are trees in the background.

Read Deborah's story

Deborah is a Latina educator with the Blaine County School District. She started as a paraprofessional and attended Boise State University to become a teacher. After graduation, she returned to Blaine County, and she is now a reading specialist and supports students in the Dual Immersion program. Due to staffing challenges, she is currently a kindergarten teacher.

Read Elizabeth's (II) story

Elizabeth graduated more than a decade ago and her brother is still in high school. Despite the time gap, Elizabeth and her siblings share similar experiences as Latinx students in Blackfoot schools. They both felt pushed out as a result of their experiences with the lack of translation and interpretation accommodations for their mom, racially hostile environments, and increased discipline and policing in school. 


Know Your Rights

You can learn more about your rights as a student by clicking on the link below.

Student Discipline Know Your Rights

Education Report: Proud to Be Brown

Latine students are a vital and growing part of Idaho’s schools. But school districts in Idaho, including the Caldwell and Nampa School District, are jeopardizing Latine students’ federal civil rights and liberties by enforcing “gang” dress codes. These dress codes prohibit students from wearing clothing that is “evidence of membership in, affiliation with, and/or representative of any gang.” In practice, the dress codes are targeting mostly Latine students in a discriminatory way and having negative consequences on their cultural identity, discipline, and education.


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Idaho found that:


The dress codes fail to give families clear instructions on what a student can and cannot wear on a daily basis and allow staff to prohibit any clothing they (or police) allege to be “gang.”


School police, hired by local police departments, host ongoing training for the districts and staff on what constitutes “gang” attire. At times, school police also enforce “gang” dress codes through interrogation and possible surveillance and tracking of students.


Several schools at both school districts have prohibited students, who have no affiliation with gangs, from wearing Catholic rosaries to school, impacting mostly Latine students who practice this religion. Some schools have also prohibited students from wearing clothing expressing “Brown Pride,” also alleging the phrase is “gang-related.” And the dress codes punish and target clothing attributable to cholo style, a style that has a strong sense of cultural identity for many Latines.


Several Latine families shared with us they believed the schools were implementing their gang dress codes in a discriminatory way, further alienating Latine students from school. The dress codes have also resulted in growing disciplinary records, missed classroom time (as a result of suspensions, expulsions, and informal removals from the classroom), and increased policing and surveillance of Latine students. In some instances, schools have also forced students to enter “Color Contracts,” which can lead to further discipline if students wear or talk about the identified “gang” colors.


In both school districts, Latine students (even more so male Latine students) are consistently receiving in- and out-of-school suspensions at higher rates than would be expected for their student population. Despite making up between 40 - 44 percent of student enrollment, Latine students had 2X the number of expulsions compared to white students. We also found concerning discipline rates for English-learning students and students with disabilities. Discipline trends for Latine students may also be impacting their access to education given Latine students’ ongoing achievement gaps when compared to white students.