A Montreal teenager whose family emigrated from Mexico returned to his English high school Monday.
"It feels amazing to see all my friends again," said Emiliano Morales-Espinosa.
The 16-year-old boy was forced to leave Royal West Academy in September and attend a French-language school after his father became eligible for permanent Canadian residency.
The English Montreal School Board said pressure from the family's lawyer and the media attention surrounding the case pushed the government to reverse its decision.
The family learned Friday the government was making the exception on humanitarian grounds.
Under Quebec language laws, children of parents who have temporary residency are permitted to attend English schools. Once the family applies for permanent residency, that exemption is no longer applicable.
Board spokesperson Mike Cohen said it sees at least a dozen similar cases every year and most cases are refused.
'We've lost almost 7,000 students over the last decade and there's a big chunk of those are related to the language laws and it's crippling the English system,' —Mike Cohen, English Montreal School Board
"We've lost almost 7,000 students over the last decade and there's a big chunk of those are related to the language laws and it's crippling the English system," he said.
The Morales-Espinosa family moved to Montreal from Mexico 11 years ago.
The family has been fighting for months to keep their three children in English schools.
Ernesto Morales said he knew his children would be forced out of the school system when he became a permanent resident.But he did not expect his children would be removed from English schools as soon as they applied for that status. The family doesn’t expect to become permanent residents for another year.
Emiliano, who is completing his last year of high school, returned to Royal West Academy Monday morning.
The family’s two younger children, 10-year-old Emmanuella and 12-year-old Valentina, have not yet been allowed to return to the English system.