LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Homeless children deserve to go to school too

Posted

By law, it’s required for children to attend and remain in school until they are legal dropout age. There are serious
consequences to the guardian(s) of the child for not sending them to school. But what about those who are homeless and do not have access to a vehicle to go to school? How are they being assisted? Are they aware of the harm the students will have in the long term by not attending school?

What is the issue here? Since 2009, the average number of homeless students seems to increase throughout the years. Due to homelessness, the absences from school are high. Studies show that children who are experiencing homelessness have lower readiness skills and overall poor academic success compared to the general population of children. Not only does this affect the child(s) academic performance but they face behavioral, health, and mental health challenges. By not having stability, the child's mental health may be affected by anxiety to depressions, addiction, and to suicide contemplation.

How can the community and or the school help/support students and their families who are experiencing this? There are articles that can support these very examples: creating an accepting classroom environment, becoming knowledgeable of what “homelessness” means, community collaborations, and finally outside resources/programs. Although these examples show aid and support to these families and to benefit the child(s) academics, how is the guardian supposed to go on about this? What does the law say about homeless students having an increased number of absences? Does the law remain the same for those who are homeless? If so, how is that fair to them. Or what are their regulations regarding this situation? Not many are aware of this issue. This is a topic that need to be addressed.

Sarahi Hernandez
Lordsburg