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School Rights and Disaster Recovery

Disaster Relief

Student and education rights after a disaster.

Here, learn about the rights of children and their families to enroll and attend school in the state of Texas after a disaster. Children can attend school regardless of where they are living. Parents can enroll their children in the school district where they are currently living. Children who have disabilities can enroll in school and receive special services, even if their old school records are not available.

How can I get my children back to school?

According to Lone Star Legal Aid, enroll them where you are staying. Your children have a legal right to go to school in Texas after a disaster. If they can’t go to their usual school, you have the right to enroll your children in the school district where you are living. Contact the school district and tell them you have children you want to enroll in school because of the disaster.

Why should I enroll my children in school?

Going to school is good for most children who have survived a disaster. 
  • It helps children keep up with their schoolwork. 
  • School gives children a much-needed normal routine. 
  • School gives parents a break and allows them time to do the things they need to do to help the family recover from the disaster. 
  • Schools can help to feed eligible children through the breakfast and lunch programs.

Can my children go to school if we are living in a shelter?

Yes. It does not matter where you live—your children have a right to go to school. You can be living in a shelter, tent, trailer, hotel, motel, campground, in your car, park, with friends or relatives—your children have the legal right to go to school. 

What papers do my children need to go back to school?

Very little. Typically you will not need proof that you live in the area, old school records, or shot records. Your children will be enrolled for 30 days without the usual paperwork. That time will probably be extended if you cannot get home or get the papers at the end of 30 days. 

Will my children get to ride the bus?

Probably. Children who have survived a disaster and are enrolling in school have all the same legal rights as any other children going to school. If children living near where you are living are riding the bus, your children will probably get to ride the bus, too.

What about my child who has disabilities?

You have the legal right to enroll your child in school and your child has the legal right to get needed special services. Federal law protects children who have disabilities.

Even if you do not have paperwork about your child, like the “Individualized Education Plan” that the child’s old school did, you still have the right to enroll your child and your child has the right to special services.

You should tell the new school what your child’s special needs are. The school must work with you to provide the special services your child needs.

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