If your family lives in any of the following situations:
- In a shelter, motel, vehicle or campground
- On the street
- In an abandoned building, trailer, or other inadequate accommodations, or
- Doubled up with friends or relatives because you cannot find or afford housing
Then your preschool-aged and school-aged children have certain rights or protections under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.
Your Children have the right to:
- Go to school, no matter where you live or how long you have lived there. The law provides access to the same public education, including preschool education, provided to other children.
- Continue in the school they attended before you became homeless or the school they last attended, if that is your choice and it is feasible. If a school sends your child to a school other than the one you request, the school must provide you with a written explanation and offer you the right to appeal the decision.
- Receive transportation to the school they attended before your family became homeless or the school they last attended, if you or a guardian requests such transportation.
- Attend a school and participate in school programs with children who are not homeless. Schools cannot separate homeless children from the regular school program because they are homeless.
- Enroll and attend classes while the school arranges for the transfer of school and immunization records or any other documents required for enrollment.
- Enroll and attend classes in the school of your choice even while the school and you seek to resolve a dispute over enrolling your children.
- Receive the same special programs and services, if needed, as provided to all other children served in these programs.
- Receive transportation to school and to school programs.
When you move, you should do the following:
- Contact the school district’s local liaison for homeless education for help in enrolling your child in a new school or arranging for your child to continue in his or her former school. Someone at a shelter, social services office, or the school can also direct you to the person you need to contact.
- Contact the school and provide any information you think will assist the teachers in helping your child adjust to new circumstances.
- Ask the local liaison for homeless education, the shelter provider, or a social worker for assistance with clothing and supplies, if needed.
Rights of Homeless Students
Wasatch County School District shall provide an educational environment that treats all students with dignity and respect. Every homeless student shall have equal access to the same free and appropriate educational opportunities as students who are not homeless. This commitment to the educational rights of homeless children, youth, and youth not living with a parent or guardian, applies to all services, programs, and activities provided or made available.
All Homeless Students Have Rights To:
- Immediate school enrollment. A school must immediate enroll students even if they lack health, immunization or school records, proof of guardianship, or proof of residency.
- Enroll in:
- The school he/she attended when permanently housed (school of origin)
- The school in which he/she was last enrolled (school of origin)
- Any school that non-homeless students living in the same attendance area in which the homeless child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.
- Remain enrolled in his/her selected school for as long as he/she remains homeless or, if the student becomes permanently housed, until the end of the academic year.
- Priority in certain preschool programs
- Participate in a tutorial-instructional support program, school-related activities, and/or receive other support services.
- Obtain information regarding how to get fee waivers, and low-cost or free medical referrals.
- Transportation services: A homeless student attending his/her school of origin has a right to transportation to and from the school of origin as long as (s)he is homeless or, if the student becomes permanently housed, until the end of the academic year.
Dispute Resolution: If you disagree with school officials about enrollment, transportation or fair treatment of a homeless child or youth, you may file a complaint with the school district. The school district must respond within 7 calendar days. The school district must refer you to free and/or low-cost legal services to help you, if you wish. During the dispute, the student must be immediately enrolled in the school and provided transportation until the matter is resolved. The Homeless Liaison will assist in making enrollment and placement decisions, providing notice of any appeal process, and filling out dispute forms. Within 7 calendar days of receipt by parent, guardian, or homeless youth of the decision of the district level appeal, a “State Level Notice of Appeal” may be filed with the Utah Department of Education Homeless Coordinator. Forms will be provided with the district decision. The state level decision will be final.