Friday, September 23, 2011

Rights of Homeless Students

From “Student’s Rights Handbook: A guide for public school students in New Jersey” (Fourth edition)
The complete Handbook can be found at the ACLU Website: 
Homeless Students. Although students generally attend school in the
district where their parents or guardians reside, New Jersey law recognizes
that homeless families may be forced to move quite often. State law makes
special provisions for children of homeless parents, because their education
would be severely disrupted if these students had to switch schools every
time their parents moved.

Homelessness is defined as “temporarily lack[ing] a fixed, regular and
adequate residence.”15 The “district of residence” for a child whose parent or
guardian temporarily moves from one school district to another as a result
of being homeless is the school district in which the parent or guardian last
lived prior to becoming homeless.16 After such a move, the child may
continue to attend public school wherever he or she attended before
moving; may enroll in the “district of residence,” determined as stated above;
or may enroll in the district where the child is temporarily living.17 School
officials from the district of residence, after consulting with the child’s
parent or guardian, decide based on the child’s best interests where the
child should enroll.18 Wherever the child enrolls, the district of residence
must pay any necessary transportation or tuition costs.

If the parent or guardian disagrees with the school officials’ decision
about where a homeless child is to attend school, he or she may bring that
objection to the county superintendent. The county superintendent must
then determine the appropriate placement within 48 hours.19

A parent or guardian who objects to the regional superintendent’s
decision may request mediation through the Department of Education. If
the mediation is unsuccessful, the parent or guardian may appeal to the
Commissioner of Education.20

A helpful resource on the issue of homelessness and students is
Education Rights of Homeless Students: A Guide for Advocates, which is
published by the Education Law Center whose contact information is listed
at the end of the handbook.
Education Law Center
60 Park Place, Suite 300, Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 624-1815

No comments:

Post a Comment