Rights of Students Experiencing Homelessness
(Information for School-Aged Youth)
If you live in any of the following situations:
- In a shelter, motel, vehicle, or campground
- On the street
- In an abandoned building, trailer, other inadequate accommodations, or
- Doubled up with friends or relatives because you cannot find or afford housing
Then you have certain rights or protections under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.
You have the right to:
- Go to school, no matter where you live or how long you have lived there. You must be given access to the same public education provided to other students.
- Continue in the school you attended before you became homeless or the school you last attended, if that is your choice and it is feasible. The School District’s local liaison for homeless education (Talley C. Westerberg, School Social Worker at WHS) must assist you, if needed, and offer you the right to appeal a decision regarding your choice of school if it goes against your wishes.
- Receive transportation to the school you attended before you became homeless or the school you last attended, if you request such transportation.
- Attend a school and participate in school programs with students who are not homeless. Students cannot be separated from the regular school program because they are homeless.
- Enroll in school without giving a permanent address. Schools cannot require proof of residency that might prevent or delay school enrollment.
- Enroll and attend classes while the school arranges for the transfer of school and immunization records or any other documents required for enrollment.
- Receive the same special programs and services, if needed, as applied to all other students served in these programs.
- Receive transportation to school and to school programs.
When you move, you should do the following:
- Contact the School District’s local liaison for homeless education for help enrolling in a new school or arranging to continue in your former school. (Or, someone at a shelter, social services office, or the school can direct you to the person you need to contact.)
- Tell your teachers anything that you think they need to know to help you in school.
- Ask the local liaison for homeless education, the shelter provider, or a social worker for assistance with clothing and supplies, if needed.
- In the event that a parent/guardian of a student experiencing homeless disagrees with the placement decision made by the local Homeless Liaison, the parent/guardian can appeal the local Homeless Liaison’s decision by contacting the Winnacunnet High School Principal. Further appeals may be made to the SAU 21 Superintendent by calling 603-926-8992. The New Hampshire State Coordinator for Homeless Education can be contacted in the case of disputes still remaining unresolved after appeal to the Principal and Superintendent.
- Please see NH State Dispute Process Information for information regarding the NH State Level Dispute Resolution process for students experiencing homelessness.
- Please note that Unaccompanied Youth will be assisted throughout the appeal process by the local Homeless Liaison, as specified in the McKinney Vento legislation.
The local Homeless Liaison for Winnacunnet High School is Talley C. Westerberg, LICSW. Please contact Talley by calling the main Guidance Department phone number (603-926-8769).The New Hampshire State Coordinator for Homeless Education is Lynda Thistle Elliott, who can be reached by calling 603-271-3840.
Information on this page is provided by the National Center for Homeless Education and the State of New Hampshire Department of Education. Please visit them online at www.serve.org/nche and NH Department of Education, Homeless Children and Youth