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Archived Homeless List Serve Messages

Subject:  Educational Rights and Protections for Children and Youth – Dispute Resolution Process

ListServe Message Date:  August 11, 2011

As we enter into a new school year, I wanted to remind everyone about the establish procedures to promptly resolve disputes regarding the educational placement/rights of homeless students.  Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, reauthorized by Title X, Part C, of the No Child Left Behind Act, ensures educational rights and protections for children and youth experiencing homelessness.

 

Families and youth in homeless situations may be unaware of their right to dispute placement and enrollment decisions.  When disputes are raised, too often, students are denied school enrollment until the dispute is resolved.   This interruption in education can harm students’ academic progress and disrupt their classmates and teachers.  Local liaisons are instrumental in ensuring that disputes are resolved objectively and expeditiously.  The required written notice protects both students and schools by outlining the specific reasons for the school’s decision.  It also facilitates the resolution of disputes by providing decision makers with the information needed to make lawful, informed decisions that will serve the best interest of the student involved.

McKinney-Vento Act Sec. 722(g); 42 U.S.C. 11432(g).

 

 

(3) Local Educational Agency Requirements

 

 

(B) Best Interest—In determining the best interest of the child or youth…the local educational agency shall…(ii) provide a written explanation, including a statement regarding the right to appeal under subparagraph (E), to the homeless child’s or youth’s parent or guardian, if the local educational agency sends such child or youth to a school other than the school of origin or a school requested by the parent or guardian; and (iii) in the case of an unaccompanied youth, ensure that the homeless liaison designated under paragraph (1)(J)(ii)…provides notice to such youth of the right to appeal under subparagraph (E).

 

 

(E) Enrollment Disputes—If a dispute arises over school selection or enrollment in a school—(i) the child or youth shall be immediately admitted to the school in which enrollment is sought, pending resolution of the dispute; (ii) the parent or guardian of the child or youth shall be provided with a written explanation of the school’s decision regarding school selection or enrollment, including the rights of the parent, guardian, or youth to appeal the decision; (iii) the child, youth, parent, or guardian shall be referred to the local educational agency liaison designated under paragraph (1)(J)(ii), who shall carry out the dispute resolution process as described in paragraph (1)(C) as expeditiously as possible after receiving notice of the dispute; and (iv) in the case of an unaccompanied youth, the homeless liaison shall ensure that the youth is immediately enrolled in school pending resolution of the dispute.”

 

A Standard Complaint Resolution Process can be found on the DESE website at:  http://www.dese.mo.gov/divimprove/fedprog/discretionarygrants/homeless/

Donna Cash
Supervisor, Federal Compliance
Coordinator, McKinney-Vento Program
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
P.O. Box 480, 205 Jefferson Street
Jefferson City, MO  65102-0480
Office:  573-522-8763  Fax:  573-526-6698
dese.mo.gov

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