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:

Kids getting on the bus

  • 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 your student's current school and let them know your circumstances. You will be asked to complete this Residency Questionnaire

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


At the Elmira City School District, contact:
Derek Almy
Homeless Liaison
(607) 735-3040

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