HOMELESS STUDENTS PLAN
In order to ensure that homeless students have equal access to the same free appropriate public education as provided to other students, the following shall apply:
Homeless students are individuals who lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence and include the following:
- Students who 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; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals’ or are awaiting foster care placement.
- Students who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designated for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
- Students who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations or similar settings.
- Migratory students who meet one of the above described circumstances.
The district will consider the best interests of the student with familial involvement in determining whether the student should be enrolled in the school of origin or the school that non-homeless student who lives in the attendance area in which the homeless student is actually living are eligible to attend. To the extent feasible, and in accordance with the student’s best interest, the student should continue his/her education in the school of origin, except when contrary to the wishes of the Family or guardian. If the student is unaccompanied by a Family or guardian, the homeless coordinator will consider the views of the student in deciding where the student shall be educated. The choice regarding placement shall be made regardless of whether the student lives with the homeless families or has been temporarily placed elsewhere.
The school selected shall immediately enroll the homeless student, even if the student is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment, such as previous academic records, immunization records, proof of residency or other documentation. However, the district may require a Family or guardian of the student to submit contact information.
The district shall provide a written explanation, including a statement regarding the right to appeal, to the homeless student’s Family/guardian, or to the homeless student if unaccompanied, if the district sends the student to a school other than the school of origin (“school of origin” is defined as the school that the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the student was last enrolled) or other than a school requested by the Family or guardian.
If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment in a school, the student shall be immediately to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute. The student or Family/guardian shall be referred to the district homeless coordinator, who will carry out the dispute resolution process as expeditiously as possible.
Each homeless student shall be provided services comparable to services offered to other students in the district including, but not limited to, transportation services; educational services for which the student meets eligibility criteria, such as educational programs for disadvantaged students, students with disabilities and gifted and talented; vocational programs and technical education; school meals programs; preschool programs; before and after-school care programs and programs for students with limited English proficiency. Homeless students will not be segregated in a separate school or in a separate program within a school based on the student’s status as homeless.
In the event that it is in the best interest of the homeless student to attend the school of origin, transportation to and from school shall be provided at the request of the Family/guardian or, in the case of an unaccompanied student, the homeless coordinator. If the student’s temporary housing is outside the district of the school of origin, Trousdale County will work with the school of origin to agree on a method to apportion the responsibility and costs for transporting the student. If an agreement cannot be reached, the costs will be shared equally.
Any records ordinarily kept by the school, including immunization records, academic records, birth certificates, guardianship records and evaluations for special services or programs of each homeless child or youth shall be maintained so that appropriate services may be given the student, so that necessary referrals can be made and so that records may be transferred in a timely fashion when a homeless student enters a new school district. Copies of records shall be made available upon request to students or families in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
The Board designates the following individual to act as the district’s homeless coordinator:
phone ~ (615) 374-2193
fax ~ (615) 374-1108
103 Lock Six Road, Hartsville, Tennessee 37074
The district shall inform school personnel, service providers and advocates working with homeless families of the duties of the district homeless coordinator. The homeless coordinator shall ensure that:
- Homeless students are identified by school personnel and through coordination activities with other entities and agencies.
- Homeless students enroll in, and have a full and equal opportunity to succeed in schools in the district.
- Homeless families and students receive educational services for which such families and students are eligible, including Head Start, Even Start and preschool programs administered by the district and referrals to health care services, dental services, mental health services and other appropriate services.
- The families or guardians of homeless students are informed of the educational and related opportunities available to their children and are provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children.
- Public notice of the educational rights of homeless students is disseminated where such students receive services, such as schools, family shelters and soup kitchens.
- Enrollment disputes are mediated in accordance with law.
- The Family or guardian of a homeless student and any unaccompanied youth, is fully informed of all transportation services including transportation to the school of origin and is assisted in accessing transportation to the school selected.
- Unaccompanied youths will be assisted in placement or enrollment decisions, their views will be considered and they will be provided notice of the right to appeal.
- Students who need to obtain immunizations, or immunization medial records, will receive assistance.