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    Speak Up! - View Question #25322

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    Question: I am a 17 year old drop out can I enroll my self into another charter school without my parent. Also my parents are divorced an I live with my mother an she has full custody an knows I'm a drop out but she will not enroll me till I can do it my self which will be in 10 months so can I enroll myself back to school after a bad decision. Also my dad would like to enroll me himself but we don't think he can cause my mom has full custody. Please help.

    Answer: You are entitled to attend public school until you turn 21. The law contemplates that the parent with custody (your mother) choose which school you will attend. But it is common for public schools (school district and charter schools) to allow a non-custodial parent (your father) or a family friend to enroll the child in school. Note that the adult who enrolls you would need to show a birth certificate or other reliable document to prove your age. I believe that, if your father explained the situation to the charter school, the school would allow you to enroll.

    As a final point, another law that might apply in your situation is the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which gives students who are homeless the right to enroll in the school of their choice. A person is homeless when living in temporary housing for economic reasons. If you have to move in with your father to enroll in school, you might qualify as a homeless child under McKinney Vento. A student claiming homeless status under McKinney-Vento must be admitted immediately (regardless of whether birth certificate is available or vaccinations have been obtained.) and remain so until the question of their eligibility is resolved.

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