A newly updated and expanded version of “Education Rights of Homeless Students: A Guide for Advocates,” has been released by Education Law Center. The third edition of this publication, part of ELC’s advocacy guide series, provides more comprehensive and practical information to assist New Jersey students affected by homelessness.
As a result of difficult economic times and an increase in natural disasters, the protections of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act are more relevant than ever. The protections apply not only to homeless students living in shelters, but also to those who are “doubled up” with friends or relatives when their family lacks a regular or permanent residence. To comply with federal law, states must adopt special rules and procedures that provide an exception to general school residency rules.
ELC’s latest New Jersey guide incorporates changes in state rules since the last update in 2007, as well as case law and federal guidance issued over the last decade. The guide also emphasizes the core principles that have remained the same – that to the extent possible, and giving preference to parental decision-making, students who experience homelessness should be protected against interruptions in their education.
“The importance of maintaining school continuity when students are displaced from their homes cannot be overstated,” said ELC Senior Attorney Elizabeth Athos. “We hope that ELC’s significant revamping of this publication will improve understanding of school district obligations and student rights in this critical area.”
Support from the IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey contributed to this project.
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