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Arnold & Porter Obtains Landmark Settlement to Affirm Educational Rights of Homeless Students

February 12, 2020

Arnold & Porter worked in conjunction with Public Counsel and the Education Justice Program of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri to secure a groundbreaking settlement and Consent Decree that will help ensure homeless students have basic access to public education.

For years, Riverview Gardens School District and the Missouri State Board of Education failed to enroll homeless students, provide transportation for them, and offer the necessary academic, mental health and wellness support systems needed to succeed. Two students experiencing homelessness, their parents and two non-profit organizations in St. Louis, Missouri filed suit against Riverview Gardens School District and the State of Missouri because they failed to meet the basic educational needs of homeless students as required by the McKinney-Vento Act.

As a result of the recent settlement, Riverview Gardens School District and the State of Missouri will revise their policies and practices to better support the education of students experiencing homelessness. The Consent Decree is the first of its kind in Missouri; it is the first legal action to result in substantial changes to state and district policies regarding access to education for students experiencing homelessness.

The Arnold & Porter pro bono team included associates Hannah Henkel, Caitlin Martini Mika and partner John Ulin.