Answer: Under the McKinney-Vento Act, State and local educational agencies must “review and revise policies to remove barriers to the education of homeless children and youth, including barriers to enrollment and retention due to outstanding fees or fines, or absences.” 42 U.S.C.§11432(g)(1)(I). “Enrollment” is defined in the law as “attending classes and participating fully in school activities.” 42 U.S.C. §11434A(1). A school district policy that prohibits homeless student from participating in graduation due to absences related to homelessness creates a barrier to enrollment. Therefore, school policies must create exceptions for students whose absences were related homelessness. Those absences can be excused so they do not erect barriers to participation, or the policy simply can exempt students experiencing homelessness. School policies must not pose a barrier to homeless students participating fully in a school activity, such as graduation.
Our school district has a rule that after a certain number of unexcused absences, a student cannot walk at graduation. We have a student who, due to his homelessness, has accumulated unexcused absences, and now per the school rule, he cannot walk at graduation. The student is McKinney-Vento eligible, and still living in a homeless situation. Would the McKinney-Vento Act help this student be able to walk at graduation? If so do you have the exact wording of the law?
Apr 26, 2019 | Q and A