Answer: Automatic eligibility for school meals is part of the Russell School Lunch Act. That law provides continued eligibility for McKinney-Vento students for the rest of the school year and into the first 30 days of the next school year. However, parents do have the right to refuse school meals. This situation is tricky because the student has returned to live with his parents. He does not meet the unaccompanied youth definition any longer. He’s still eligible for all McKinney-Vento services for the rest of the school year, and he’s eligible for school meals for the rest of the year. But since he is back in the physical custody of his parents, his parents have rights, too. They can refuse school meals. McKinney-Vento provides some special independence for unaccompanied youth. But once the youth is back with parents, the youth is not unaccompanied, so regular parental rights kick back in.

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