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School Board Homeless Education Policy

Children who meet the federal definition of homeless and live within the county shall be admitted to school in the Columbia County School District and shall have access to free public education including preschool, given the opportunity to meet local and state academic achievement standards, and be included in State and District assessments and accountability systems.

(1)           Definitions 


A.           Homeless Children and Youth 


Individual who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence and includes 


(a)          Are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, 

           economic hardship or a similar reason; doubled-up; 


(b)          Are living in motels, hotels, travel trailer parks, or camping grounds   

           due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; 


(c)            Are living in emergency or transitional shelters, abandoned in 

           hospitals, or awaiting foster care placement; 


(d)       Are living in a primary nighttime residence that is not designated  for, or ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations for human beings; (cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings) or 


(e)       Are migratory children and youth who qualify as homeless because    

     they are living in circumstances described in II.A.1. through II.A.5. 


B.           Unaccompanied Youth – A student who is not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian. 


C.           School of Origin – The school that the student attended when permanently housed or the school where the child or youth was last enrolled. 


D.           Enroll and Enrollment – Attending school and participating fully in school activities. 


E.           Immediate – Without delay. 


F.            Parent – Parent or guardian of a student. 


G.           Liaison – The staff person designated by the District as the person responsible for carrying out the duties assigned to the liaison by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. 


(2)          The District shall identify homeless students as defined by federal and state law. 


(3)          The District shall seek to remove barriers and provide exemptions to the enrollment and retention of homeless children and youth, such as guardianship, transportation, immunization, physicals, residency, birth certificates, school records, and other documentation. 


(4)          Each homeless student shall be provided the services that are comparable to other students including at parents, guardian’s, or liaison’s request transportation to and from school of origin, school nutrition programs, before and after school programs, and education services for which the child meets the eligibility criteria such as exceptional education, gifted education, vocational and technical programs, preschool programs, Title I, and programs for English language learners, and are given meaningful opportunities to succeed in school. 


(5)          The District shall provide access of homeless preschool-aged children and their families to educational services for which they are eligible, including preschool programs administered by the school district. 


(6)          Homeless students shall be allowed to remain in the school of origin to the extent feasible, unless this is contrary to the wishes of the parents. 


(7)          Homeless students and/or parents shall have the right to dispute school selection if placement is other than the school of origin.  The District shall ensure that unaccompanied youth and the parents of homeless students are notified of the right to remain in the school of origin and of the dispute process. 


(8)          If requested by the parent of a homeless child or by the liaison on behalf of an unaccompanied youth, the District shall be responsible for providing transportation to and from the school of origin throughout the duration of homelessness.  


(9)          Homeless students shall not be stigmatized, segregated, or separated in any educational program on the basis of their homeless status. 


(10)       The District shall follow the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. 


STATUTORY AUTHORITY:   1001.41, 1001.42, 1003.21, F.S. 


LAW(S) IMPLEMENTED:     1000.21, 1001.43, 1003.01, 1003.21, 1003.22, F.S. 




HISTORY:   ADOPTED:  NEW: 01/12/10 


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