405R-B - Admission of Homeless Students

Definitions

The term “homeless student” means an individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence and includes: 
  1. children and youths, including unaccompanied youths who are not in the physical custody of their parents, who

    1. are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations or in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals; 

    2. 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; or

    3. are living in parked cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations or similar settings; and

  2. migratory children who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this policy because the children are living in circumstances described above.
The term “migratory child” means a child who moved from one residence to another and from one school division to another in the preceding 36 months as a migratory agricultural worker or migratory fisher or with, or to join, a parent or spouse who is a migratory agricultural worker or a migratory fisher.

The term "school of origin" means the school that the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the student was last enrolled.

The term "unaccompanied youth" includes a youth not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

Generally

Frederick County Public Schools is committed to educating homeless children and youth. Homeless children and youth are not stigmatized or segregated on the basis of their status as homeless. The school division coordinates the identification and provision of services to such students with relevant local social services agencies and other agencies and programs providing services to such students and with other school divisions as may be necessary to resolve interdivisional issues.

Frederick County Public Schools serves each homeless student according to the student’s best interest and will
  • continue the student's education in the school of origin for the duration of homelessness

    • if the student becomes homeless between academic years or during an academic year; or

    • for the remainder of the academic year, if the student becomes permanently housed during an academic year; or

  • enroll the student in any public school that non-homeless students who live in the attendance area in which the student is actually living are eligible to attend.
In determining the best interest of a homeless student, Frederick County Public Schools  
  • presumes that keeping the student in the school of origin or the school that serves the student's current physical address is in the student’s best interest, except when doing so is contrary to the request of the student’s parent or guardian, or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth;

  • considers student-centered factors related to the student’s best interest, including factors related to the impact of mobility on achievement, education, health and safety of homeless students, giving priority to the request of the student’s parent or guardian or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth;

  • if, after conducting the best interest determination based on consideration of the presumption and the student-centered factors above, the school division determines that it is not in the student’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 school division provides the student’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; and

  • in the case of an unaccompanied youth, ensures that the division’s homeless 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.
Enrollment

The school selected in accordance with this regulation immediately enrolls the homeless student, even if the student
  • is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, records of immunization and other required health records, proof of residency or other documentation; or

  • has missed application or enrollment deadlines during any period of homelessness.
The enrolling school immediately contacts the school last attended by the student to obtain relevant academic and other records.

If the student needs to obtain immunizations or other required health records, the enrolling school immediately refers the parent or guardian of the student or, (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth, to the division’s homeless liaison, who assists in obtaining necessary immunizations or screenings, or immunization or other required health records. 

If the documentation regarding a comprehensive physical examination required for enrollment cannot be furnished for a homeless child or youth, and the person seeking to enroll the pupil furnishes to the school division an affidavit stating that the documentation cannot be provided because of the homelessness of the child or youth and also indicates that, to the best of his or her knowledge, such pupil is in good health and free from any communicable or contagious disease, the school division immediately refers the student to the division’s homeless liaison who, as soon as practicable, assists in obtaining the necessary physical examination by the county or city health department or other clinic or physician's office and immediately admits the pupil to school.

The decision regarding placement is made regardless of whether the student lives with the homeless parents or has been temporarily placed elsewhere.

Enrollment Disputes

If a dispute arises over eligibility, or school selection or enrollment in a school
  • the homeless student is immediately enrolled in the school in which enrollment is sought, pending final resolution of the dispute, including all available appeals;

  • the parent or guardian of the student or (in the case of an unaccompanied youth) the youth is provided with a written explanation of any decisions related to school selection or enrollment made by the school, the school division or the Virginia Department of Education, including the rights of the parent, guardian or student to appeal the decision;

  • the student, parent or guardian is referred to the division’s homeless liaison who carries out the appeal process as expeditiously as possible after receiving notice of the dispute; and

  • in the case of an unaccompanied youth, the homeless liaison ensures that the youth is immediately enrolled in the school in which the youth seeks enrollment pending resolution of the dispute.
Appeal Process

Oral Complaint

In the event that an unaccompanied student or the parent or guardian of a student (hereinafter referred to as the Complainant) disagrees with a school division’s decision regarding the student’s eligibility to attend the school, the Complainant shall orally present his position to the division’s homeless liaison.

Written Complaint

If the disagreement is not resolved within five (5) school days, the Complainant may present a written complaint to the homeless liaison. The written complaint must include the following information: the date the complaint is given to the homeless liaison; a summary of the events surrounding the dispute; the name(s) of the school division personnel involved in the enrollment decision; and the result of the presentation of the oral complaint to the homeless liaison.

Within five (5) school days after receiving the written complaint, the homeless liaison will reach a decision regarding the contested enrollment and shall provide a written statement of that decision, including the reasons therefore, to the Complainant. The liaison will inform the Superintendent  or hearing officer of the formal complaint and its resolution.

Appeal to Superintendent

If the Complainant is not satisfied with the written decision of the homeless liaison, the Complainant may appeal that decision to the Superintendent or hearing officer by filing a written appeal. The homeless liaison shall ensure that the Superintendent receives copies of the written complaint and the response thereto. The Superintendent or hearing officer shall schedule a conference with the Complainant to discuss the complaint. Within five (5) school days of receiving the written appeal, the Superintendent, or hearing officer, shall provide a written decision to the Complainant including a statement of the reasons therefore.

Comparable Services

Each homeless student is provided services comparable to services offered to other students in the school attended by the homeless student including the following:
  • transportation services;

  • educational services for which the student meets the eligibility criteria, such as services provided under Title I, educational programs for children with disabilities and educational programs for English learners;

  • programs in career and technical education;

  • programs for gifted and talented students; and

  • school nutrition programs.
Transportation

At the request of the parent or guardian (or in the case of an unaccompanied youth, the liaison), transportation is provided for a homeless student to and from the school of origin as follows:
  • if the homeless child or youth continues to live in the area served by the division in which the school of origin is located, the child's or youth's transportation to and from the school of origin is provided or arranged by the division in which the school of origin is located.

  • if the homeless child's or youth's living arrangements in the area served by the division in which the school of origin is located terminate and the child or youth, though continuing his or her education in the school of origin, begins living in an area served by another division, the division of origin and the division in which the homeless child or youth is living must agree upon a method to apportion the responsibility and costs for providing the child with transportation to and from the school of origin. If the divisions are unable to agree upon such method, the responsibility and costs for transportation are shared equally.

Legal Reference(s):
20 U.S.C. Section(s) 6399

42 U.S.C. Section(s) 11302, 11431, 11432, 11433, 11434a

Code of Virginia, 1950 as amended, Section(s) 22.1-3, 22.1-70, 22.1-78, 22.1-253.13:1, 22.1-270

 
Adopted: July 6, 2008
Amended: June 15, 2017
Amended: July 3, 2018
Amended:  August 15, 2018