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Dispute Resolution Process for Homeless Students


ItemDescription
Policy TitleDispute Resolution Process for Homeless Students
Policy CategorySBE/DPI Operation (SBOP)
Policy IDSBOP-020
Policy Date2018-06-07
Previous Policy Dates06/01/2006
Statutory ReferenceG.S. 150B-21; G.S. 115C-12; 42 U.S.C. § 11432
Administrative Procedures Act (APA)16 NCAC 06H .0112

Formerly TCS-C-020

The State Board of Education recognizes that the interests of students are best served when disputes are resolved informally at the local level where the issues and parties are best known.

 

.0112 dispute resolution process for homeless students

(a)  As used in this Rule:

(1)  The terms “homeless,” “homeless child,” and “homeless student” shall mean the same as the term “homeless children and youth” as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 11434a(2). These terms shall also be deemed to include the term “unaccompanied youth.”

(2)  The term “unaccompanied youth” shall mean the same as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 11434a(6).

(3) The term local educational agency (LEA) includes local school administrative units, charter schools, lab schools, regional schools, Innovative School District schools, and Innovations Zone schools.

 (4)  The term “LEA dispute resolution process” shall refer to the LEA’s policy on resolving complaints brought by parents, guardians, or unaccompanied youth regarding students experiencing homelessness. The term shall refer to appeals processes within the LEA, prior to any appeal by the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth appeals to the State Coordinator.

(5)  The term “local liaison” shall refer to the official at each LEA, who ensures the LEA dispute resolution process for homeless children and youth is mediated in accordance with local, state, and federal policy as required by 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(6)(A)(vii). 

(6)  The term “school business day” means days on which students are scheduled to be in attendance at school, according to the academic calendar adopted by the LEA.

(7)  The term “State Coordinator” shall refer to the staff person who carries out federally mandated duties regarding students experiencing homelessness as required by 42 U.S.C. § 11432(d)(3).

(8)  The term “State appeal process” shall refer to the policies the State Coordinator, LEAs, parents, guardians, and unaccompanied youth must follow when a parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth seeks to appeal a dispute to the State Coordinator.

 LEA Dispute Resolution Process

(b)  Each LEA shall develop and implement a process for parents, guardians, or unaccompanied youth who have complaints about eligibility, school selection, or enrollment to file an appeal to the local liaison upon registering, or attempting to register, the child or youth at the school in which enrollment is sought. For purposes of this policy, the phrase “school in which enrollment is sought” may be either the school of origin or the school located in the attendance zone of the child or youth’s temporary residence.  Enrollment shall be deemed to include attending classes and participating fully in school activities. The LEA shall define and describe the LEA dispute resolution process in its local board of education’s official policy manual. The LEA dispute resolution process shall provide that:

(1)   the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth may initiate the dispute resolution process with the local liaison at the school in which enrollment is sought or at the local liaison’s office.

(2)   faculty and staff of the school who know about the complaint must refer the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth to the local liaison;

(3)   the local liaison shall expeditiously carry out the LEA dispute resolution process within fifteen school business days, or thirty calendar days, whichever is less;

(4)   the LEA official(s) responsible for making the final LEA decision are identified in the local policy;     

(5)   the LEA shall enroll the child or youth immediately in the school in which enrollment is sought pending resolution of any complaint between the school or LEA and the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth over school enrollment;

(6)   the LEA shall provide the student with all the services for which the student is eligible and shall permit the student to participate fully in school activities while the dispute is being resolved;

(7)  the LEA shall, at the time a complaint is made to the local liaison when practicable, but in no case more than one school business day later, provide the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth with a statement of rights and procedures, written in an understandable and uniform format, and to the extent practicable, in a language that the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth can understand, that informs them of:

(A)  contact information including telephone number, e-mail address, and physical address of the local liaison and of the State Coordinator for homeless education, with a brief description of their roles;

(B)  the right to notify the local liaison, within two school business days of the school’s decision, of the parent, guardian or unaccompanied youth’s intent to appeal the decision and the right to receive notice of the appeal procedure, including the timeline and process for making the initial appeal and any subsequent appeals available under LEA policy, which process must allow for appeals to be made orally or in writing and must identify the LEA official(s) who makes the final LEA decision;

(C)  a simple form that parents, guardians, or unaccompanied youth can complete and submit to the local liaison to formally initiate the appeal and any subsequent appeals available under LEA policy;

(D)  the right to appeal the final LEA decision to the State Coordinator within three school business days after the final LEA decision with the option of requesting an extension from the State Coordinator (though extensions are not guaranteed) and a step-by-step description on how to file this appeal;

(E)  the right to enroll immediately in the school located in the attendance zone of the child or youth’s temporary residence or remain in the school of origin with transportation provided pending resolution of the dispute, if such transportation is requested by the parent, guardian, or local liaison on behalf of the youth

(F)  notice that immediate enrollment includes full participation in all school activities;

(G)  the right to obtain assistance of advocates or attorneys;

(H)  the right to provide supporting written or oral documentation during the appeals process.        

(c)  Each LEA shall appoint a local liaison for identifying homeless students. The local liaison shall:

(1)  ensure that when parents, students, and unaccompanied youth initiate the dispute resolution process, all parties comply with the LEA’s dispute resolution policy and that the parents, students, and unaccompanied youth are provided with the information listed in (b)(7); 

(2)  ensure that each unaccompanied youth and any student experiencing homelessness who files a dispute about enrollment or whose parent or guardian files such a dispute is enrolled immediately in the school pending resolution of the  dispute;

(3) communicate the LEA dispute resolution process to parents, guardians, and unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness; and

(4) inform the LEA superintendent, other appropriate school officials, and the State Coordinator  of the dispute immediately after the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth has initiated the dispute resolution process.

(d) The State Coordinator shall train the local liaisons to carry out and mediate the dispute resolution process and to ensure that each school and the LEA meets the requirements of the McKinney-Vento Act as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015.

State Appeal Process

(e) Any parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth who is not satisfied with the final LEA decision regarding enrollment may appeal the decision, within three school business days after the final LEA decision, to the State Coordinator through an oral or written appeal to the State Coordinator, including:

(1)  the name, physical address if available, e-mail address, and telephone number of the person filing the appeal;

(2)  the relationship or connection of the person to the child in question;

(3)  the name of the school system and the specific school in question;

(4)  the federal requirement alleged to have been violated;

(5)  how the requirement has been violated; and

(6)  the relief the person is seeking.

(f) If the State Coordinator receives an appeal that is not complete, the Coordinator shall contact the person making the appeal and the local liaison, explain the deficiency, and offer the person the opportunity to complete the appeal.

(g)  Upon request of the State Coordinator, the local liaison shall provide the State Coordinator with the record of the complaint, the LEA’s actions, and other supporting documents. If the matter involves more than one LEA, then the local liaisons shall cooperate to provide the State Coordinator with a complete record. In either event, the local liaison or liaisons shall provide the complete record within three school business days following the State coordinator’s request.

(h) The State Coordinator shall provide the LEA and the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth with the opportunity to respond to the LEA decision and to provide any additional evidence they deem relevant within three school business days.

(i)  The State Coordinator shall issue a final written decision to the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth and the LEA involved within ten school business days following receipt of the complete appeal.

(j)  The State Coordinator’s decision shall include:

(1)  a summary of the issue appealed;

(2)  the federal requirement at issue; and

(3)  a description of the State Coordinator’s decision in an understandable and uniform format, and, to the extent practicable, provided in a language that the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth can understand, including further steps that the LEA or parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth are required to take.

(k) Nothing contained in this Rule shall prohibit the State Coordinator from investigating whether the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth knowingly and voluntarily entered into any agreement affecting their rights under McKinney-Vento Act as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015. If the State Coordinator determines that the parent, guardian, or unaccompanied youth did not knowingly and voluntarily enter into the agreement, then the State Coordinator may void the agreement and enter a decision consistent with the applicable facts and law.

 


 

 

 

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