Identification of Homeless Children and Youth
Many families and students who are experiencing homelessness are embarrassed by their situation and will try to hide the truth about their living situation. Students temporarily living with friends or relatives are particularly hard to detect. Schools cannot help these at risk students unless they are identified. Reaching out and finding the homeless students in their district are therefore primary among the liaison’s duties.
- No school shall deny enrollment to any child or youth because he or she is living in a shelter or lacks a permanent address or is homeless.
- No school shall deny enrollment to or delay the enrollment or transfer of any homeless child or youth unable to produce school, medical, or residency records.
- Scituate Public Schools shall provide each homeless child and youth who enrolls in the district with the choice of enrolling in:
- the school he or she attended when permanently housed; or
- the school in which he or she was last enrolled; or
- any school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.
- The child or youth shall be permitted to remain in the school selected in accordance with the choices identified above for as long as the child or youth remains homeless or if the child or youth becomes permanently housed, until the end of the academic year.
- When a homeless student or youth attempts to enroll in a school and notifies the school that he or she is homeless and that he or she does not have appropriate transfer or medical documentation, it shall be the responsibility of the receiving school to immediately enroll the child and to immediately make a reasonable effort to:
- verify that the student is homeless;
- contact the sending school for proper transfer documentation; and if necessary
- immediately refer the student to a physician or clinic including free clinics, which can provide any necessary examination or immunizations in a timely manner.
- In the event that a homeless child lacks immunizations(s), or documentation regarding immunization, the school shall immediately enroll the child, and shall refer him or her to a physician or clinic, including free clinics, which can provide any necessary immunizations in a timely manner.
Dispute Resolution Process (GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES)
Where a dispute arises regarding the enrollment or transportation of a student, the child shall be immediately enrolled or transported to the school chosen by the parent, if the parent claims the school is one of the three choices identified in Enrollment 3(a)-(c) above, until final resolution of the dispute.
- Any individual alleging the abridgement of the educational rights of homeless children or youth by Scituate Public Schools, or raising any issue of discrimination under this policy may initiate a grievance pursuant to the procedures described below. School personnel should assist the parent or youth in completing appropriate grievance forms.
- Initial grievance information should be recorded and received at the local school by the principal or the principal’s designee. The principal should attempt to resolve the issue(s) raised by the end of the next school day AND notify The Office of Education of Homeless Children at the Massachusetts Department of Education of the grievance and its resolution.
- If the principal is unable to resolve the grievance by the end of the next school day, it shall be immediately referred to the OEHCY (above).
- The OEHCY will review the grievance and if the dispute cannot be resolved to the parent’s satisfaction the OEHCY will convene a meeting of the parties and attempt to resolve the issue(s) raised within four school days.
- Copies of all grievances filed and the resolution reached should be maintained in the school’s office with a copy forwarded to the Office of the State Coordinator.
- If a dispute arises, CPS shall inform parents of homeless children of the availability of this grievance process, sources of low cost or free legal assistance, and other advocacy services in the community.