The Harrisburg School District’s admissions policy led to the denial of enrollment in the 2016-17 academic year for four refugee students whose families had resettled in Harrisburg. On February 23, 2017, lawyers from the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Community Justice Project sent a letter to Superintendent Dr. Sybil Knight-Burney to inform her that the policy is illegal under federal and state law.

The four students were eventually enrolled in school, and, on July 24, the district issued a new guidance on the admissions policy. The ACLU of Pennsylvania and Community Justice Project are concerned that the guidance is vague and that the same problems will recur.

Press Releases


Witold Walczak, ACLU of Pennsylvania; Marielle Macher, Community Justice Project

Date filed

February 23, 2017