October 24, 2017 State Guidance Regarding Students Displaced By Recent Hurricanes
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
We are writing to advise you that the New York State Education Department has issued guidance (copy attached) regarding students displaced by recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and several countries in the Caribbean. Some of the families impacted by these hurricanes have relocated to New York, with more possibly relocating here in the near future.
According to the guidance, students who are temporarily displaced due to a natural disaster are likely protected by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act (“McKinney-Vento”), which governs the educational and other rights of students in temporary housing.
The guidance summarizes existing State and Federal laws and regulations that may be relevant when a displaced student enters a new school district, including the student’s right to immediately enroll in the new district, regardless of whether the student has the documentation normally required for enrollment (for example, academic records, special education records, medical records, immunization records or proof of residency) or missed the application or enrollment deadlines during any period of homelessness. The guidance also provides instructions regarding how to locate any missing documentation.
The guidance also provides information and resources for school districts, charter schools and BOCES regarding the rights of and services that are available to students who are displaced by natural disasters, including the following:
- The applicability and requirements of McKinney-Vento.
- Information on providing displaced students with timely access to a public education.
- Resources for families in need who may wish to register with FEMA for aid.
- Resources for obtaining technical assistance with respect to educating displaced students.
- Guidance with respect to displaced students with disabilities and following recommendations on an existing IEP from another school.
- English Language Learners (“ELLs”) and information on providing timely and appropriate services for ELLs.
- Information regarding possible incoming teachers from Puerto Rico.
- Resources from the Office of Student Support Services including, but not limited to, guidance on how to obtain information on student registration and enrollment, trauma-sensitive strategies for school success, pupil personnel services and mental health and health services.
If you have any questions regarding the guidance or your obligations with respect to incoming students who have been impacted by recent hurricanes or other natural disasters, please contact Lauren Schnitzer or one of our other attorneys by calling 631-694-2300.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
© Lamb & Barnosky, LLP 2017