The educational rights of homeless students are protected under the New Jersey State Constitution and Federal Law. All Trenton Public School employees understand that homeless students are entitled to all the rights of students who are not homeless, including:
. Bilingual Education/ESL
. Special Education
. Vocational Educationn
. Gifted and Talented Education
. Extra-Curricular and Non-Academic Activities
. Non-Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation/sexual preference
Who is considered homeless? This question has been clearly answered by state and federal statutes. A family or child without a fixed, regular and adequate residence. This means families living in a shelter (welfare hotel, congregate shelter, transitional housing; an institution providing a temporary residence prior to an intended institutionalization; and a place not designed or typically used by people for regular sleeping accommodations.
A student is homeless if s/he:
. Lives with a parent in a domestic violence shelter
. Is a runaway living in a shelter
. Is a mother living in a home for adolescent mothers
. Is sick or abandoned and living in a hospital but would be released if s/he had a permanent residencee
. has been abandoned
. Is the child of a homeless family living with relatives or friends out of necessity
. Is the child of a migrant family which lacks adequate housing
It is important to note that the circumstances under which a family becomes homeless (i.e., eviction) have no bearing on the child's homeless status. When a child becomes homeless, the child's parent or social worker helping the family, immediately contacts the school district where the child is temporarily residing. Every district must have a "homeless liaison". It is important to get the name and telephone number of these person. The district homeless liaison is responsible for ensuring that the child's "district of residence" is determined; ensures that a timely "educational placement" is made in accordance with the child's best interests; and ensures that the homeless child residing in the district is enrolled in and attending school.
In the Trenton Public Schools the Interim Homeless Liaison is Denise Holguin. She can be reached at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or telephone at 609-656-4900 x5670
At the school level, the school counselor(s) is the contact person.