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School Rights after a Disaster

Authored By: Northwest Justice Project LSC Funded
Read this in:
Spanish / Español

Information about how to get your child back in school after a natural disaster occurs. #1910EN


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How can I get my children back to school?

Enroll them where you are staying. Your children have a legal right to go to school in Washington after a disaster. They have a right to go to their usual school. If they cannot, you have the right to enroll them in the school district where you are living now. 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 them keep up with their school work. It gives them a normal routine. It gives parents a break and gives them time to do what they need to do to recover from the disaster.

School can help feed eligible children through breakfast and lunch programs.


We are living in a shelter. Can my children go to school?

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, a park, or with friends or relatives. Your children still have the legal right to go to school.


What papers do my children need?

Very little.  You should not need proof that you live in the area, old school records, or shot records. Someone from the district should help you get your old school records and shot records as soon as possible.


Will my children get to ride the bus?

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


What about my child who has disabilities?

You have the legal right to enroll your child with disabilities in school. Your child has the legal right to get needed special services. Federal law protects children with disabilities. Even if you do not have paperwork about your child, like the "Individualized Education Plan" the old school did, you have the right to enroll your child. Your child with disabilities has the right to special services. Tell the new school about your child's special needs. The school must work with you to provide the special services your child needs.


This publication was adapted from materials authored by Lone Star Legal Aid with their permission.

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Last Review and Update: Oct 12, 2020