Collier school district facing lawsuit

Published: Updated:

NAPLES, Fla. – Two immigrant teens believe they are being denied a proper education in Collier County.

The teens, who are not being identified, moved to Southwest Florida from Guatemala last year. They wanted to go to Immokalee High School but instead were admitted to Immokalee Technical Center (iTech).

Collier County Public Schools says the teens were admitted only to iTech because they didn’t speak English and only had sixth grade educations.

“They should at least have the opportunity,” said the teens’ attorney, Lisa Carmona. In a letter she sent to the school district last week, it claims her clients aren’t getting a proper education because they were turned away from attending a normal high school.

“Instead they were sent to iTech to a program that does not offer any high school credits and does not really provide a pathway to a high school diploma,” said Carmona.

Carmona says even though her clients did not speak English when they moved here, they were 16 years old and they should have been allowed to enroll at Immokalee High School.

“It’s not that unusual of a situation,” said Carmona. “There are many other districts in Florida that also face similar situations and they manage to help these young folks assimilate and have a regular education experience.”

But the district disagrees, and calls the accusations “baffling.” The school district’s attorney said if the teens would have gone to Immokalee High School, it would have just set them up for failure.

District officials say iTech will help the students learn English, find a career path, and get up to speed on their education. From there, they can meet with a counselor to help get them on track to get a high school diploma.


Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.