Homeless children and youth enrollment and placement

Children of homeless individuals and unaccompanied homeless youth (youth not in the physical custody of a parent/guardian) who either reside in the District or for whom the District is the school of origin shall have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education as provided to other children and youths who reside in the District. They shall be provided services comparable to services offered other children attending district schools, including transportation services, educational services for which the children/youths meet eligibility criteria (e.g., special education, Title I programming, gifted and talented programming), vocational and technical education programs and school nutrition programs. No homeless child or youth shall be required to attend a separate school or program for homeless children and shall not be segregated or stigmatized by the District or school personnel.

For the purposes of this Policy, a child or youth is “homeless” if he/she lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. “Homeless” includes the following:

    1. Children/youths sharing housing with other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason, and children/youths who are living in motels and trailer parks due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
    2. Children/youths living in emergency or transitional shelters, abandoned in hospitals, or awaiting foster care placement;
    3. Children/youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
    4. Children/youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, substandard housing, etc.; and
    5. Migratory children who live in any of the above circumstances.

“School of origin” means the school that the child or youth attended when he/she was not homeless, or the last school in which the child or youth was enrolled.

  1. District Liaison for Homeless Children and Youths
    The Director of Special Services has been designated as the district’s liaison for homeless children and youths and will ensure that:
    1. Homeless children and youths residing in the District, or for whom the District is their school of origin, are identified by school personnel and through coordination activities with other entities and agencies.
    2. Homeless children and youths enroll in, and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed in schools in the District.
    3. Homeless families, children and youths receive educational services for which they are eligible and referrals to other appropriate services (e.g., health care services).
    4. The parent/guardian of a homeless child and any unaccompanied homeless youth is informed of the educational and related opportunities available to them and are provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of the child/youth.
    5. Public notice of the educational rights of homeless children and youths is disseminated where such children and youths receive services such as the schools and family shelters.
    6. Enrollment disputes are mediated in accordance with legal requirements.
    7. The parent/guardian of a homeless child and any unaccompanied homeless youth is fully informed of transportation services that may be available to them under the law and assist them in accessing such transportation services.
  2. Admission and Placement of Homeless Child or Youth
    When a homeless child or youth seeks enrollment in the District, these procedures shall be followed:
    1. The homeless child’s parent/guardian or any unaccompanied homeless youth shall be advised of their choice of schools. The homeless child/youth shall be allowed to either:
      1. continue his/her education in the school of origin for the duration of the homelessness, or
      2. be placed in the school that nonhomeless children/youths who live in the attendance areas in which the child/youth is actually living are eligible to attend.

        The choice regarding school placement shall be made regardless of whether the child or youth lives with his/her parent(s)/guardian or has been temporarily placed elsewhere. School selection decisions shall be made based on the best interest of the homeless child/youth. When determining the best interest of the child/youth, the child/youth should be kept in the school of origin to the extent feasible, except when doing so is contrary to the wishes of the child/youth’s parent or guardian. If the District assigns a homeless child to a school other than the school of origin or a school requested, the district shall provide the child’s parent/guardian with a written explanation, including a statement regarding the right to appeal the school selection decision. An unaccompanied homeless youth shall also be provided notice of his/her right to appeal the school selection decision. School selection disputes shall be handled as outlined in Section C below.

    2. The homeless child/youth shall be immediately enrolled in the assigned school. This must be done even if the child/youth is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, medical records, proof of residency or other documentation. The enrolling school shall immediately contact the school last attended by the child/youth to obtain relevant academic and other records. If the child/youth needs to obtain immunizations, or immunization or medial records, the enrolling school shall immediately refer the parent/guardian or the unaccompanied homeless youth to the district’s liaison for homeless children and youths, who is expected to assist in obtaining the necessary immunization or medical records.
    3. The homeless child/youth shall be placed in an appropriate grade level by the building principal or designee, using the same procedures that are used for placing non-homeless children and youth attending that school. Educational programming and services shall be provided for the child/youth consistent with legal requirements and established District policies and procedures.
    4. Once enrolled, homeless children/youths shall have all the rights and privileges of non-homeless children attending school in the District and shall be subject to the same school rules and regulations.
  3. School Selection or Enrollment Disputes

    If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment in a school:

    1. The homeless child, youth, parent/guardian shall be referred to the district’s liaison for homeless children and youths, who shall attempt to resolve the dispute as expeditiously as possible after receiving notice of the dispute. The parent(s)/guardian or homeless youth shall be provided with a written explanation of the district’s decision on the dispute and a notice of the right to appeal to the State Superintendent of Pubic Instruction.
    2. The homeless child or youth shall be immediately enrolled in the school in which the enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute.

In administering this policy, the District shall not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion, national origin, ancestry, creed, color, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, mental, physical, emotional, or learning disability, or any other factor prohibited by state or federal laws or regulations.