High school graduation numbers have been released, and the second worst numbers in San Diego County came from Grossmont Union High School District.
Officials said it's the district's huge refugee population that's dropping out in large numbers.
But refugee children and the social workers who help them claim they're being asked to leave.
Many refugees come to America with the dream of getting an education and being successful, but they never thought they would be asked to leave local public schools before graduating.
Lubna Moshi's family fled a war torn Iraq, spent time in a refugee camp in Turkey, and then came to the United States two years ago.
After enrolling in El Cajon Valley High School, she said she and many others were told to leave because she did not have enough credits to get her diploma.
“They said, ‘You're age is almost 18 and you cannot stay in high school,’” she said. "I tell the counselor, 'Let me stay,' she said, 'No.'"
Refugee dropout rate is the reason Grossmont Union High School District says their graduation rates are down to nearly 77 percent, the second lowest in the county.
State figures released between 2007 and 2012, nearly 10,000 Iraqi refugees came to El Cajon with their children going to local schools, some with little or no English.
Social worker Besma Coda says this is common among refugee children.
“Either they will be kicked out of the school before the school's end or they will drop out of the school when they turn 18,” she said.
Officials at El Cajon Valley High School were unable to comment to NBC 7 but the Grossmont Union High School District says students are not asked to leave and many other options are available.
“I think there may have been a miscommunication in that conversation, because we do provide support for students who are 19 through our adult education program and the student would be allowed to transition,” said Ralf Swenson with the Grossmont Union High School District.
Social workers say the refugees don't go to adult schools in the district because of long waiting lists. Instead they go to Diego Valley Charter School which opened this month, accepting students from age 14 to 24. The school gives refugees a chance to earn a high school diploma at pace they can handle.
Nearly 10 students, social workers and parents maintained to NBC 7 that they were asked to leave.
The district and social workers say there are many other refugees are successful in school and are able to pass high school exit exams.