(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrat Tim Eustace (D-Bergen) that would allow a child who has moved out of a school district due to a tragic event to remain enrolled in that district until the end of the school year was advanced Thursday by a Senate panel.
“This bill addresses the difficult situation that students and parents find themselves in when they must relocate to escape a dangerous situation,” said Eustace. “These are children who have been abused or have endured some other hardship that doesn’t allow them to remain in the community served by the school district for their own safety. Surely this warrants an exemption. These children have been through enough to now have to worry about reestablishing themselves in a new school.”
The bill (A-735) allows a child, who moves out of a school district due to domestic violence, sexual abuse or any other family crisis, to remain enrolled in that district until the end of the school year. If the child remains enrolled in the district for the remainder of the school year, the district will be responsible for providing transportation services to the child, provided the child lives “remote” from the school. An elementary school pupil is considered remote if he or she lives more than two miles from the school, while a secondary school pupil is considered remote if he or she lives more than 2 1/2 miles from the school. The state would be responsible for paying the cost of the transportation services.
“Taking a child away from his friends, teachers and school for circumstances they did not create just adds insult to injury. If there is a legitimate reason to allow a student who lives outside a school district to continue to attend school in that district, this should be it,” said Eustace.
The bill was approved 74-1-1 by the Assembly in April and was released Monday by the Senate budget committee.