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Information for parents about educational rights in cases of student homelessness


If your family lives in any of the following situations...

  • In a shelter, motel, vehicle or campground
  • On the street
  • In an abandoned building, trailer or other inadequate accommodations, or
  • Doubled up with friends or relatives because you can't find adequate housing.

...then your school-aged children have certain rights or protections under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act of 2001.


Your children have the right to:

Clipart:  Schoolbus

  • Go to school, no matter where you live or how long you have lived there. They must be given access to the same public education, including Pre-K education, provided to other children.
  • Continue in the school they attended before you became homeless or the school they last attended, if that is your choice and is feasible. If a school sends your child to a school other than the one you request, the school must provide you with a written explanation and offer you the right to appeal the decision.
  • Receive transportation to the school they attended before your family became homeless, or the school they last attended, if you or a guardian requests such transportation.
  • Attend a school and participate in school programs with children who are not homeless. Children can't be separated from the regular school program because they are homeless.
  • Enroll in school without giving a permanent address Schools can't require proof of residency that might prevent or delay school enrollment.
  • Enroll and attend classes while the school arranges for the transfer of school and immunization records or any other documents required for enrollment.
  • Enroll and attend classes in the school of your choice even while the school and you seek to resolve a dispute over enrolling your children.
  • Receive the same special programs and services, if needed, as provided to other children served in these programs.
  • Receive transportation to school and to school programs.


When you move, you should:

  • Contact the school district's local liaison for homeless education, Dr. Christine Mecke, (607) 735-3040, for help in enrolling your child in a new school or arranging for your child to continue in his or her former school.
  • Contact the school and provide any information you think will assist the teachers in helping your child adjust to new circumstances.
  • Ask the local liaison, Dr. Christine Mecke for homeless education, the shelter provider or a social worker for help with clothing and supplies.


If you need further assistance, call the National Center for Homeless Education at:


At the Elmira City School District, contact:
Dr. Christine Mecke
Homeless Liaison
(607) 735-3040


For details about the federal law about the educational rights of students who are homeless, click here.


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