PCSSD - 4.40 Homeless Students

4.40 Homeless Students

The Pulaski County Special School District will afford the same services and educational opportunities to homeless children as are afforded to non-homeless children. The Superintendent or his/her designee shall appoint an appropriate staff person to be the local educational agency (LEA) liaison for homeless children and youth whose responsibilities shall include, but are not limited to:

  • Receive appropriate time and training in order to carry out the duties required by law and this policy;
  • Coordinate and collaborate with the State Coordinator, community, and school personnel responsible for education and related services to homeless children and youths;
  • Ensure that school personnel receive Professional development and other support regarding their duties and responsibilities for homeless youths;
  • Ensure that unaccompanied homeless youths:
  • Are enrolled in school;
  • Have opportunities to meet the same challenging State academic standards as other children and youths; and
  • Are informed of their status as independent students under the Higher Education Act of 1965 and that they may obtain assistance from the LEA liaison to receive verification of such status for purposes of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid;
  • Ensure that public notice of the educational rights of the homeless children and youths is disseminated in locations frequented by parents or guardians of such youth, and unaccompanied homeless youths, including schools, shelters, public libraries, and soup kitchens, in a manner and form that is easily understandable.

To the extent possible, the LEA liaison and the building principal shall work together to ensure no homeless child or youth is harmed due to conflicts with District policies solely because of the homeless child or youth’s living situation; this is especially true for District policies governing fees, fines, and absences.

Notwithstanding Policy 4.1, homeless students living in the district are entitled to enroll in the district’s school that non-homeless students who live in the same attendance area are eligible to attend. If there is a question concerning the enrollment of a homeless child due to a conflict with Policy 4.1 or 4.2, the child shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought pending resolution of the dispute, including all appeals. It is the responsibility of the District’s LEA liaison for homeless children and youth to carry out the dispute resolution process.

For the purposes of this policy “school of origin” means:

  • The school that a child or youth attended when permanently housed or the school in which the child or youth was last enrolled, including a preschool; and
  • The designated receiving school at the next grade level for all feeder schools when the child completes the final grade provided by the school of origin.

The District shall do one of the following according to what is in the best interests of a homeless child:

  • Continue the child's or youth's education in the school of origin for the duration of homelessness:
  • In any case in which a family becomes homeless between academic years or during an academic year; and
  • For the remainder of the academic year, if the child or youth becomes permanently housed during an academic year; or
  • Enroll the child or youth in any public school that nonhomeless students who live in the attendance area in which the child or youth is actually living are eligible to attend.

In determining the best interest of the child or youth, the District shall:

  • Presume that keeping the child or youth in the school of origin is in the child's or youth's best interest, except when doing so is contrary to the request of the child's or youth's parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth;
  • Consider student-centered factors related to the child's or youth's best interest, including factors related to the impact of mobility on achievement, education, health, and safety of homeless children and youth, giving priority to the request of the child's or youth's parent or guardian or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth.

If the District determines that it is not in the child's or youth's best interest to attend the school of origin or the school requested by the parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth, the District shall provide the child's or youth's parent or guardian or the unaccompanied youth with a written explanation of the reasons for its determination, in a manner and form understandable to such parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth, including information regarding the right to appeal. For an unaccompanied youth, the District shall ensure that the LEA liaison assists in placement or enrollment decisions, gives priority to the views of such unaccompanied youth, and provides notice to such youth of the right to appeal.

The homeless child or youth must be immediately enrolled in the selected school regardless of whether application or enrollment deadlines were missed during the period of homelessness.

The District shall be responsible for providing transportation for a homeless child, at the request of the parent or guardian (or in the case of an unaccompanied youth, the LEA Liaison), to and from the child’s school of origin.

For the purposes of this policy, students shall be considered homeless if they lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and:

  1. Are:
  • Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason;
  • Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
  • Living in emergency or transitional shelters;
  • Abandoned in hospitals; or
  1. 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;
  2. Are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and
  3. Are migratory children who are living in circumstances described in clauses (a) through (c).

In accordance with Federal law, information on a homeless child or youth’s living situation is part of the student’s education record and shall not be considered, or added, to the list of directory information in Policy 4.13.

Legal References:    

  • 42 U.S.C. § 11431 (2)
  • 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(1)(H)(I)
  • 42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(1)(J)(i), (ii), (iii), (iii)(I), (iii)(II)
  • 42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(3)(A), (A)(i), (A)(i)(I), (A)(i)(II), (A)(ii)
  • 42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(3)(B)(i), (ii), (iii)
  • 42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(3)(C)(i), (ii), (iii)
  • 42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(3)(E)(i), (ii), (iii)
  • 42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(3)(G)
  • 42 U.S.C. § 11432 (g)(4) (A), (B), (C), (D), (E)
  • 42 U.S.C. § 11434a
  • Commissioner’s Memo COM-18-044

Date Adopted: 11/08/2005

Last Revised: 2/19/18

Manual Adoption: 2/8/11