Answer: Below is the exact language from the McKinney-Vento Act. The citation is 42 USC 11432(g)(1)(I). This student has been missing school after becoming homeless. He now faces barriers to graduation due to his homelessness and the absences. The district has a choice between helping the student graduate and the student dropping out of school just weeks prior to graduation. It seems clear that helping the student is in the best interest of both the student and the school. Helping the student also is required by federal law. The law requires the LEA to remove barriers to enrollment and retention in school. The prospect of not graduating just days or weeks shy of the end of the student’s senior year is an extreme barrier. The LEA must remove this barrier. Allowing the student to make up work and sit for his exam is a simple way to remove the barrier. If LEA policy impedes removing the barrier, then the policy must be changed and/or an exception made.
“(I) A demonstration that the State educational agency and local educational agencies in the State have developed, and shall review and revise, policies to remove barriers to the identification of homeless children and youths, and the enrollment and retention of homeless children and youths in schools in the State, including barriers to enrollment and retention due to outstanding fees or fines, or absences.”
[Update: the student was allowed to make up his work.]