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NC Education Lawyer Blog

  • Writer's pictureNC Education Lawyer

Hurricane Florence: School Enrollment

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Hurricane Florence rocked our state over the past few days. Many of our friends and neighbors are displaced and not able to return to their homes. What does that mean for your student?

Students who are displaced due to natural disasters may qualify for protections under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, a federal law that addresses the educational needs of homeless students. McKinney-Vento applies to students who

(1) are sharing the housing of other people due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; (2) living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or campgrounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; (3) living in emergency or transitional shelters; (4)

living in a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings; (5) living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or

similar settings; or (6) living in a migratory situation and who qualify as homeless because of living circumstances as described above.

School districts must, to the extent feasible, keep students experiencing homelessness in their school of origin (defined as the school the student attended when permanently housed or the school in which the student was last enrolled), unless it is against the parent’s wishes. If the student's temporary residence is in the same school district as their school of origin, the school district must provide transportation for the student to their school of origin.

If the student's temporary residence is in a different school district, the new school district must enroll students in homeless situations immediately, even if they do not have documents normally required for enrollment (e.g. birth certificates, previous school records, medical or immunization records, proof of residency, etc.). Enrolling schools must obtain school records from the previous school, and students must be enrolled in school while the records are obtained. The new school district must also provide transportation to the student in a manner that non-homeless students are transported to and from school.

School districts are required to have a McKinney-Vento coordinator or other person responsible for ensuring the district complies with its obligations pursuant to the law. This person should be able to help you arrange transportation for your student and/or assist you with enrolling your student.

If your student is experiencing school enrollment issues related to Hurricane Florence that you are unable to resolve, we are here to help.

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