The McKinney-Vento Act protects the rights of children and youths in homeless situations to attend and succeed in school, including preschool.  The McKinney-Vento Act applies to all children and youths who do not have a fixed, regular, and adequate residence, including those who are staying with friends or relatives because they have lost their housing; are awaiting foster care placement; or are living in emergency or transitional shelters, campgrounds, cars, public places, abandoned buildings or bus or train stations.  Children in these situations have a right: 1) to go to school, 2) enroll in school without immunizations, school records, proof of residency or birth certificates and other documents, 3) be provided with transportation to and from the school, 4) be free from harassment and isolation, 5) have any disagreements with the school settled quickly.  Please contact Randy Smiley at the Florence 5 District Office (843) 386-2358 if you have any questions regarding the McKinney-Vento Act.

In those cases where a parent/guardian of a homeless child has a dispute with the school district about enrollment, Florence County School District Five has adopted the following dispute resolution procedures.

1.      School officials and parents of homeless children will do everything possible to resolve the complaint on the school level (Principal, Guidance Counselor, and parent/or unaccompanied youth).

2.      When the dispute requires intervention by a third party, the school will recommend the following dispute resolution procedure:

a.      Disputes or complaints of noncompliance will be filed with the District Homeless coordinator (Randy Smiley (843) 386-2358).  School district officials will investigate and meet with involved parties to achieve a satisfactory resolution.

b.      If the dispute or complaint of noncompliance cannot be settled at the school with the assistance of the district office, the South Carolina Department of Education may be consulted for technical assistance or advice.

c.      If the dispute or complaint of noncompliance cannot be settled at the school district level, it will be referred to the Florence Five School District Board of Trustees for review and action.

d.      If the dispute or complaint of noncompliance cannot be settled by the school board, the family/unaccompanied youth has the right to contact the South Carolina Department of Education (SDE, 803 734-3215 – Brenda Myers State coordinator.)

e.      If the SDE cannot successfully negotiate a settlement, the matter could be referred to the United States Office of Civil Rights or the appropriate court of jurisdiction.  Dispute resolution shall not delay the admittance of a homeless child or youth into school.  The child or youth should be immediately enrolled into the parent’s or guardian’s school of choice while the dispute is being settled.