What is the best way to handle situations where a parent has been untruthful about their living situation? A family told me in August they had lost their housing and were living doubled up with a sister outside of our district (20 miles away). We set up transportation. Recently, another staff member was talking with the mom about another issue, and the mom revealed that she actually had bought the new house and was not living with a sister. Should I revoke the bus even though we’ve been transporting for almost half of the year? Remove the McKinney-Vento flag and automatic free lunch status?

Answer: There are some steps you need to follow under the law. First, you have to put in writing why you believe the family did not meet the definition of homelessness, and information about how the parent can dispute the decision if she wishes. If anything was lost...

A student’s unmarried parents share 50/50 legal custody. One parent has a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. The other is experiencing homelessness. Does this student qualify for McKinney Vento services?

Answer: Yes. If one of the parents meets the McKinney-Vento definition of homelessness, and the student resides some of the week with that parent, then the student meets the definition of homelessness. The instability between the housed and the homeless parent...

We have a student with an IEP who has yet to be in school this year but would like to return, as she can potentially graduate in June. The school district where she was residing placed her in an alternative school. The student is now an unaccompanied homeless youth, staying in a different school district. The student wants to return to the alternative school, and I think the alternative school is her school of origin. However, the school is saying that it is not accredited, and therefore cannot be the school of origin. Is the alternative school the school of origin?

Answer: Yes. The alternative school is the school in which the student was last enrolled, and the school the student attended when permanently housed. 42 USC §11432(g)(3)(I). The McKinney-Vento Act, and the definition of school of origin, apply regardless of...

We have a system that provides parents a login to a database where they can view their child’s real-time grades, homework due, etc. We have an unaccompanied youth whose parent took a screenshot of grades and posted it on Facebook, while also saying some very cruel things about the student. My question: What rights does an unaccompanied youth have to request that the school restrict their parent from having access to this database?

Answer: To our knowledge, FERPA does not provide parents the right to access online databases of this kind.  FERPA does give parents the right to “the opportunity to inspect and review the student’s education records.”  However, that doesn’t necessarily...

I have a 20 year old who was kicked out of his family home in July and spent two weeks in his car before he was allowed back in the house. He did his FAFSA and did not report himself as an unaccompanied youth. Can he change his FAFSA now, since he did have an episode as an unaccompanied homeless youth after July 1? He no longer has keys to access his family home, but they do permit him to stay there for now.

Answer: Yes, the student can amend his FAFSA— and in fact, technically students are required to amend changes in their dependency status.  There’s information on this here. Reading your description of the student’s situation (no keys, “allowed/permitted” to stay, “for...

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