HOMELESS STUDENTS: ENROLLMENT RIGHTS AND SERVICES
Purpose:
The purpose is to establish a policy which allows continuity and necessary services relating to the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. A component of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), that requires districts, under most circumstances, to allow a homeless child to continue to attend his or her school of origin and entitles them to achieve the education standards set for all children.

Definition of Homeless Students:
Homeless students are defined as lacking a fixed, regular and adequate night time residence, including:
  • Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing or economic hardship.
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations.
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters.
  • Being abandoned in hospitals.
  • Awaiting foster care placement.
  • Living in public or private places not designed for or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations for human beings.
  • Living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, transportation stations or similar settings.
  • Migratory children living in conditions described in the previous examples.
  • Unaccompanied youths under the age of 18 out of the physical custody of their parent(s) or guardian(s).

Rights of Homeless Students and/or their Parents/Guardians:
a) Such students are generally expected to remain enrolled or allowed to be re-enrolled in their school of origin until their homelessness ends or the end of the academic year in which they find permanent housing. Parents/guardians, however, can decide that it is not in their child’s best interest to remain in the school of origin.
b) Homeless families are entitled to the same rights of attendance as resident families. That would include attendance at the neighborhood school in the attendance area in which they are currently living, access to public school choice under state law and district policy and other student assignment practices and policies of the district.
c) Homeless students will be provided district services for which they are eligible including Head Start and comparable pre-school programs (Title I, similar state programs, special education). Also, bilingual education, vocational and technical education programs, gifted and talented programs and school nutrition programs.
d) If there is an enrollment dispute, the student shall be immediately enrolled in the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. Parents can make appeals to the Department of Education in the event of a dispute.
e) The parent or guardian shall be informed of the district’s decision and their appeal rights in writing. Parents can make appeals to the Department of Education in the event of a dispute.

District Responsibilities:
a) Districts are charged with not allowing lack of immunization or education records to slow the enrollment process. If homeless students lack immunization records, the family can claim a personal exemption, but should be encouraged to obtain records or the immunizations so the student will not have to be excluded from school if there is an outbreak of an infectious disease. It is the district liaison’s responsibility to facilitate the immunization of students (by the school nurse, Board of Health, or Community Clinic) and/or acquiring the medical records along with academic records from the previous district.
b) Student placement in grades and classes should be handled according to district policy.
c) The district is required to provide transportation for homeless students to their schools of origin, and sharing those costs with other districts if the school of origin is in another district, or if the district’s students are returning to a school of origin within the district while living in another district. Districts can negotiate a reasonable means of apportioning this service, but if agreement is not reached, must share the costs equally.
d) Districts are also charged with identifying a staff liaison to work on homeless student issues. The superintendent shall designate an appropriate staff person to be the district’s liaison. The liaison is directed to:
  • Assist parents and students in enrolling in and attending school.
  • Help unaccompanied youth enroll in and attend school.
  • Administer the enrollment appeals process when families don’t agree with their student’s assignment to a school.
  • Coordinate with local social service agencies that provide services to homeless families.
  • Work with other districts on coordinating the timely transfer of records and on transportation issues.
  • Collaborate with state and local housing agencies.
  • Provide notice of the rights of homeless students to attend school and access services in schools, family shelters, and soup kitchens.
  • Evaluate district policies and recommend change to reduce barriers for homeless children enrolling in and attending school.
e) The federal act calls on districts to direct special attention to ensuring the enrollment and attendance of homeless students not currently attending school.
f) Emergency contact information is required at the time of enrollment consistent with district policies including compliance with state’s address confidentiality program when necessary.
g) If there is an enrollment dispute, the student shall be immediately enrolled in the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. Parents can make appeals to the Department of Education in the event of a dispute.
h) The parent or guardian shall be informed of the district’s decision and their appeal rights in writing. Parents can make appeals to the Department of Education in the event of a dispute.


ADOPTED: Prior to 2013