(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that because of the growing number of children and families who are homeless in West Virginia there is a need to ensure that all homeless children receive a proper education. It is the intent of the Legislature that no child shall be denied the benefits of a free education in the public schools because the child is homeless.
The Legislature further finds that programs and materials must be made available to homeless and at-risk children to assure opportunities for an equal education. Programs shall include, but not be limited to, incorporating the ideas of academic achievement, career exploration, self-esteem enhancement, behavior modification and other programs relating to student development.
(b) As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires, "homeless child" means:
(1) A child who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence; or
(2) A child who has a primary nighttime residence which is:
(i) A supervised, publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations, including welfare hotels, congregate shelters and transitional housing for the mentally ill;
(ii) An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or
(iii) A public or private place not designed for, nor ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.
(c) "Homeless child" does not include any individual imprisoned or otherwise detained pursuant to an act of Congress or a state law.
A child considered to be homeless pursuant to the provisions of section one of this article who presently seeks shelter or is located in a school district shall be considered to reside in that school district and may attend public school in that district.
Nothing in this article may be construed to prohibit a child from attending a public school without the payment of tuition solely because the child is homeless as defined in section one of this article.
The state board of education shall present to the Legislature no later than the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred ninety-three, a report which shall include the identification of existing programs which exemplify academic achievement, career exploration, self-esteem enhancement, behavior modification and other programs relating to student development. The report shall also include findings and recommendations for funding such programs so as to provide delivery to all children at-risk of not succeeding in school. The report shall also include teaching techniques and learning strategies and the state board definition of "children at-risk".
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2014 1st Special Session
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