The Waukesha School District is committed to supporting all students to reach their full potential. When students face homelessness, they may find it increasingly difficult to meet the same challenging state academic standards to which all students are held. The District has resources to help families and students who find themselves in a situation where they may be homeless. Please contact your school for additional support and information.
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act was originally signed into law in 1987 as a part of a comprehensive plan to support homeless people. It has since been updated a number of times and most recently with the passing of Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) in 2016. The goal of the McKinney-Vento program is to provide support for students who are facing homelessness. School districts are responsible for removing barriers homeless students might experience to allow for equal access to all educational services.
Who is Homeless?
Under the McKinney-Vento Act, a school district identifies students who are homeless based on criteria set forth within the Act. Those guidelines include the language:
Individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
- Sharing housing due to loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reason.
- Living in motels, hotels and campgrounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations
- Living in emergency or transitional shelters
- Living in living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or other places not designated for sleeping accommodations for human beings.
- Migratory children
- Unaccompanied students who may have been kicked out, thrown out, abandoned, or have run away.
Rights of Homeless Students
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act ensures that all homeless children and youth school-age and preschool-age, have the right to a free appropriate public education without barriers. In particular, homeless children and youth have the right to:
- Right to immediate enrollment, without documents.
- Right to attend a school and participate in school activities and programs with children and youth who are not homeless.
- Provide immediate free lunch
- Waive all school fees
- Provide needed supplies and support
- Right to attend school of origin or school of residence per parent request. (School of origin is the school last attended before family became homeless or the last school attended). Any enrollment disputes will be quickly addressed
- Right to comparable transportation assistance to and from school, when requested.
- Right to other comparable educational services
- Right to community resource information & referrals - health, mental health and dental referrals
What You Need to Know to Help Your Child in School
Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness: An Introduction to the Issues
Education for Homeless Children and Youth Frequently Asked Questions
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children