SB 177 Amends Existing Law to Require Immediate Enrollment of Homeless Students and Authorizes Such Students to Participate in All Extracurricular Activities

October 2013
Number 70

Governor Brown recently signed Senate Bill (SB) 177 into law, amending and adding provisions to the Education Code regarding the rights of homeless youth. Effective January 1, 2014, SB 177 amends Education Code section 48850 to require schools, including charter schools, to immediately enroll homeless students upon request. SB 177 also provides that homeless students are permitted to fully participate in all extracurricular activities, including interscholastic sports.

Existing law seeks to ensure homeless youth have a meaningful opportunity to meet state academic achievement standards, and are given access to resources, services, and extracurricular and enrichment activities that are available to all students. Consistent with that intent and to aid in the enrollment process, California law currently prohibits schools from requiring proof of residency from a homeless student’s parent. Further, schools are required to accept a declaration of residency executed by an unaccompanied homeless youth in lieu of a declaration of residency executed by the student’s parent or guardian.

Current law also requires a foster child who changes residences pursuant to a court order or decision of a child welfare worker to be immediately deemed to meet all residency requirements for participation in interscholastic sports or other extracurricular activities.

SB 177 makes the provisions regarding foster students and participation in extracurricular activities in Education Code section 48850 applicable to homeless students. Under Education Code section 48850, as amended by SB 177, a homeless student is deemed to meet the residency requirements for participation in extracurricular activities, including interscholastic sports. Additionally, SB 177 amends Education Code section 48850 to require that homeless students who seek enrollment in a school be immediately enrolled in that school. This includes charter schools, although enrollment cannot conflict with current law regarding random drawings for admission. Requiring immediate enrollment of homeless students upon request is intended to help minimize disruptions to the student’s education.

Finally, SB 177 adds Education Code section 44852.5, which requires that each school district’s federally mandated liaison for homeless children and youths ensure that public notice of the educational rights of homeless students is disseminated in the district’s schools.

If you have any questions regarding SB 177 or required updates to your district’s homeless student policies, please feel free to contact one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also visit our website , follow us on Facebook or Twitter , or download our Client News Brief App .

Benjamin C. Rosenbaum
Associate
Fresno Office
brosenbaum@lozanosmith.com

Frances M. Valdez
Associate
Petaluma Office
fvaldez@lozanosmith.com

©2013 Lozano Smith

As the information contained herein is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. For this reason, this News Brief does not constitute legal advice. We recommend that you consult with your counsel prior to acting on the information contained herein.

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