Homeless Education Assistance
The federal definition of homelessness used by all public schools in the United States includes children and youth who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. This definition specifically includes children and youth living in shelters, transitional housing, cars, campgrounds, motels and sharing the housing of others temporarily due to loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reasons. This is the same definition of homelessness used by Head Start, special education, child nutrition and other federal family and youth programs.
The Rights of Homeless Students
Students who meet the definition of "Homeless" and are identified or identify themselves as such have the right to:
- Receive a free, appropriate public education;
- Enroll in school immediately, even if they lack documents normally required for enrollment (i.e. birth certificates, transcripts, vaccinations, etc.);
- Enroll in school and attend classes while the school works with the family/student to gather the needed documents;
- Enroll in local school; or continue attending the school they last attended, if that is their preference and is possible. If the district believes that the school chosen is not in the student's best interest, a written explanation will be provided and the student has the right to appeal this decision;
- Receive transportation to and from the school of origin, if requested; and,
- Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to the student's needs.
At LPS, students are primarily identified at enrollment or through the school counselor. Families or students who believe that they are homeless, should identify themselves as such to the school counselor.
LPS's Homeless Liaison is Rick Smith, Residency Officer and may be reached at 405-756-3134. The McKinney-Vento Act specifies the duties of liaisons, as follows: identify homeless children and youth; ensure that children and youth experiencing homelessness enroll in, and have a full and fair opportunity to succeed in, school; ensure that families, children and youth receive educational services for which they are eligible, including Head Start, Even Start and other appropriate services; inform parents and guardians of the educational and related opportunities available to their children and provide them with meaningful opportunities to participate in that education; disseminate public notice of educational rights; ensure that enrollment disputes are mediated; inform families and youth about transportation services and assist them in accessing transportation.