Homeless children & youth have the right to a free, appropriate public education.
The Northwest Independent School District is committed to ensuring that homeless children and youth have access to a quality education in our public schools. All Northwest Schools have a Homeless Education Liaison to assist families in need of information and assistance. All of our schools can help ease the difficulties encountered by homeless families.
What homeless families need to know
Who Is homeless?
Anyone who, due to a lack of housing, lives:
- In emergency or transitional shelters
- In motels, hotels, campgrounds, abandoned in hospitals, or awaiting foster care
- In cars, parks, public places, bus or train stations, or abandoned buildings
- Doubled up with relatives or friends
- Migratory children living in these conditions
What are your rights?
- Homeless children have a right to attend school.
- You do not need a permanent address to enroll your child in school.
- Homeless children have the right to stay in their home school if the parents choose.
- Your child cannot be denied school enrollment just because school records or other enrollment documentation are not immediately available.
- Your child has the opportunity to receive transportation services to and from the school of origin.
- Your child has the right to participate in extracurricular activities and all federal, state, or local programs for which he/she is eligible.
- Children with special education needs between the ages of 3 and 21 are eligible to receive special needs services. If you believe your child may be eligible, contact your school counselor's office.
At school, ask about these special services
- Free breakfast and lunch programs
- Possible transportation assistance for children to remain in their home school
- Tutoring programs
- Programs to help children learn english
- Gifted and Talented programs
- Summer School programs
- Pre-school programs
- After school programs
- Homeless assistance programs
What your family can do before you move
- Tell your child's teacher and principal that your child is moving, and give them your new address.
- Let school officials know if you want your child to stay in his/her home school while you are getting the family stabilized.
- Ask for a copy of your child's school records, including immunizations.
- Provide your child with an opportunity to say goodbye to friends.
Tips and resources
- Keep a copy of birth certificates and school records accessible.
- Safeguard all health and immunization records.
- Have a reliable person keep a second copy of birth certificates, school records and health information.
- Enroll children in school as soon as possible.
- Inform your new school about any special education records that pertain to your child.
For assistance, please contact your school counselor.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, is a federal civil rights statute which protects the rights of persons with disabilities. Section 504 prohibits discrimination against disabled persons, including both students and staff members by school districts receiving federal financial assistance. Included in the U.S. Department of Education regulations for Section 504 is the requirement that disabled students be provided with Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). These regulations require identification, evaluation, the provision of appropriate services, and procedural safeguards.
Who is eligible for services?
An eligible student is a student who
(1) has a record of having or
(2) is regarded as having, a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity such as learning.
Who is considered to have a disability?
A person is considered to have a disability under Section 504 if he/she meets one or more of the following definitions:
(1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. The term does not cover children disadvantaged by cultural, environmental, or economic factors
(2) has a record or history of such an impairment
(3) is regarded as having such an impairment.
(a) has physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit a major life activity but is treated by the district as having such a limitation;
(b) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity only as a result of the attitudes of others towards such impairment, or;
(c) has no physical or mental impairment but is treated by the district as having such an impairment.
What is a "major life activity"?
Major life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks. The disability must substantially limit learning activities for the student to be eligible for 504 educational services (34 CFR § 104.3(1)). This activity need not be related to learning to come under the protection of Section 504. The determination of whether an impairment is "substantially limiting must be made on a case-by-case basis by the Section 504 Review Committee. The nature, severity, duration, and permanence of the impairment should be taken into consideration.
What is a program or activity?
The term includes all programs or activities of school districts.
Referral for services under Section 504 is made through the Counselor on each campus. You may contact the counselor at your child's school for more information or
Mary Seltzer, Director of Student Services, at 817-215-0968 or
Lilia Vasquez, District 504/At Risk Coordinator, at 817-698-1067.