Getting Into School on Your Own

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Can I enroll in school without my parents permission?
If you are not living with your parent or legal guardian you are considered a homeless unaccompanied youth for the purpose of enrolling in school. You have special rights as a homeless unaccompanied youth and school authorities must work with you for everything related to your education.

How old must I be to be considered a homeless unaccompanied youth?
Even small children can enroll in school without parental authorization if they are living apart from their parent or legal guardian.

Can I go to the school I went to before I stopped living with my parent or legal guardian?
The school district must allow you to attend your old school if it makes sense for you. A person from the school, the “McKinney-Vento liaison”, must help you decide which school to attend. If the “McKinney-Vento liaison” does not agree with your decision, you must be informed of your rights to appeal that decision.

How will I get to school if I chose to continue to attend my old school?
The McKinney-Vento Act requires the school district to help you get to your old school. The school district could provide you with a bus pass, pay for a taxi, or pay the mileage costs for a person who is willing to drive you. If none of these options will work, the school district must provide you with bus services.

If I find a permanent place to stay during the school year, will I have to change schools?
No, you will be able to finish the school year in the same school even if your new home is outside of the local school area or school district.

Can I enroll in school even if I don’t have my school records or transcript?
Yes, homeless unaccompanied youth can attend school even if they don’t have their school records or transcript.

Can I enroll in school even if I don’t have my immunization records?
Yes, homeless unaccompanied youth can attend school even if they don’t have their immunization records.

Can I participate in extracurricular activities or other school activities without permission from my parent or legal guardian?
Federal law requires schools to allow homeless unaccompanied youth to participate fully in school activities without permission from their parent or legal guardian.

Can I participate in school related sports without permission from my parent or legal guardian?
Schools usually require athletes to be examined by a doctor to make sure that they are healthy enough to be involved in their sport. Under New Mexico law, youth age 14 and over who are homeless can consent to any routine health care. If you undergo a physical exam and the doctor signs the school form you should be able to participate in sports.

What are the duties of the school district?
The school district must:
• Get your records (school, shots, etc.)from your previous school
• Settle enrollment problems quickly and allow you to attend the school of your choice while problems are settled
• Give you access to the same services and activities as the other students
• Provide transportation if you choose to attend your school of origin and do not live in that area anymore

If a school does not allow a homeless youth to sign up for school, ask to speak with the person in charge of education for homeless students or the McKinney-Vento liaison.

Resources:

Pegasus Legal Services for Children: Provides legal services for children, youth, and their caregivers 505-244-1101
New Mexico Public Education Department 505-827-5800
U.S. Department of Education’s Education of Homeless Children & Youth Program 202-401-0113
National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) 512-475-8765
National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) 800-308-2145

Resources for Albuquerque Public Schools:
APS Student Service Center 505-855-9040
APS Title I Homeless Project 505-256-8239

DISCLAIMER: This website is provided for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website shall be construed as legal advice nor does the information provided constitute the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. We take no responsibility for errors.