|For Immediate Release|
|Friday, September 2, 2005|
|Contact:||Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106|
Enrollment of Students Displaced by Hurricane Katrina
MALDEN - Commissioner of Education David P. Driscoll notified superintendents and principals today about enrolling students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Commissioner Driscoll said, "As educators, we want to do everything we can to ease the difficulties for these students and their families."
Following is the message sent by Commissioner Driscoll to superintendents and principals:
As a result of the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, some residents of those states are seeking refuge with family members and friends in other states, including Massachusetts. Parents may come to Massachusetts with their children or they may send their children here to live temporarily with other responsible adults. For the benefit of the students who have been forced by this disaster to leave their homes and schools, and for assistance to school officials in Massachusetts, we offer the following information:
- These students qualify as homeless students under the federal McKinney-Vento Act, which requires the school district in which they are temporarily living to enroll them in its schools. The students are entitled to the same services as any other student who is a resident of the district, including transportation and special education. As homeless students, they qualify for free or reduced-price lunch and for Title I services.
- Admission of these students to school should not be delayed for lack of academic and immunization records. Transmittal of those records is likely to be slow or, in some cases, impossible. The students should be enrolled immediately. School personnel should use their educational judgment and the best information available to decide questions about grade level and other placement matters.
- The Louisiana Department of Education has informed us that thanks to its extensive student information system, it will be able shortly to provide some data on these students to school districts that are receiving them. As soon as we receive additional information from the Louisiana Department of Education, we will notify you.
- For more information about the McKinney-Vento Act and the responsibilities of school districts to educate homeless children, please see the advisories posted on our website at: http://www.doe.mass.edu/hssss/haa/.