Two students in Pennsylvania were removed from the Pennsylvania school system when local officials determined they were no longer living within school district boundaries.
The two students, whose names are only listed by initials, are the children of Mr. and Mrs. Mike Cytron and have attended schools in the Easton School District their entire lives. When their family lost their home in 2011 due to foreclosure the children remained in the same schools. The family set up temporary housing for themselves in a campground outside of town.
Think about that for a moment. Imagine living in a campground in Pennsylvania at this time of year with your kids. Imagine the biggest concern for the schools they have attended all their lives is not their welfare, but whether they are living close enough to the school to get an education.
Federal law stipulates that the children’s educations should continue uninterrupted in extenuating circumstances even though they live outside school district boundaries. However, a local attorney for the Easton School District said that a ‘studied’ determination of the family’s living situation had been conducted and that the conclusion had been made they were no longer qualified to be educated within the school system, saying that their situation was more stable than merely ‘homeless’.
The attorney went on to insinuate that the education was ‘free’, assuming that homeless people don’t pay taxes. The children, according to the Easton School District are not homeless enough, citing a 24 by 7 foot camper in a local campground as a ‘stable’ living situation. Take into account that most people don’t live on the streets to be considered homeless.
The Education Law Center of Pennsylvania, an education nonprofit that has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family, has brought the issue before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A preliminary ruling has been made allowing the children to return to class pending a formal ruling by the court.
Sadly this is not an unusual case. Over a million students in US schools in grades K – 12 were considered homeless from 2011-2012, a ten percent increase from the previous year. That is an all-time record.