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Effects of homelessness on students - Essay Example

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Homelessness in the American cities has steadily increased in the last two decades (HUD, 2002) and one-quarter of the homeless in America in 2002, comprised of teenagers and young children. Homelessness can be a traumatic experience for the students. They get twice sick as often…
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Homelessness in the American cities has steadily increased in the last two decades (HUD, 2002) and one-quarter of the homeless in America in 2002, comprised of teenagers and young children. Homelessness can be a traumatic experience for the students. They get twice sick as often as other children and their ailments range from asthma, ear defects, to stomach and speech problems (Moses, n.d.). They develop learning disabilities, as they remain withdrawn. They even eat less after becoming homeless. Students suffer from mental trauma more than physical problems. They are most often separated from their families and forced to live with foster parents. Violence within the family leaves them stressed. They lack regular medical care and emotional support. Most homeless children and youth face difficulties in enrolling, attending and succeeding in school and this is precisely what the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act intends to provide.
Under the McKinney-Vento program, the State Educational Agencies (SEA) has to ensure that each homeless child or youth has equal access to the same free appropriate education as other children, including a public preschool education (USDoC, 2004). This also provides the homeless students rights to other educational services that would enable them to meet the challenges and achieve the standards like other children. The Act prohibits the school from segregating the homeless student in to a separate school. Transportation to and from school have to be ensured. All decisions have to be taken in the best interest of the child including the choice of school as desired by the parents or the guardian. This Act also provides for obtaining immunization, which is the responsibility of the local liaison appointed by the local educational agencies (LEA) apart from identifying the needs of the homeless. They have to work with the families and make them aware of the rights for their children under this Act. The Act also provides the students the rights to continue in the same school where they went before becoming homeless. The students have a right to enroll and attend school without being forced to give a permanent address without complete documents normally required for enrollment.
Having homeless students in the class can be challenging and requires patients and creativity in the teachers (Maronek, n.d.). School can provide the stability and help the homeless cope with the situation. After providing the basic needs, the teachers should assess the level of academic ability. They should be paired with another child in the classroom on the first day. Teachers can involve them in co-operative learning activities ensure daily routine is maintained. They should be provided with educational support services and made to experience success. Clean clothing should be made available but in private; confidentiality has to be kept regarding their living conditions. They should be allowed to express frustrations and given the same responsibility of classroom jobs. The tasks should be separated so that they complete in a short time; they should also be involved in physical activities. If one teacher can help remove one stress factor from each homeless child, it can give him a feeling of being cared for and could perhaps provide confidence to face life.
Maronek, M. (n.d.), How Teachers Can Help Homeless Students,
21 Sep 2006
Moses D J (n.d.), Americas Homeless Children,
21 Sept 2006
HUD (2002), HUDs Homeless Management Information System, 21 Sept 2006
USDoC (2004), Education for Homeless Children and Youth program, The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 21 Sep 2006 Read More
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