Homeless kids kicked out of Florida school over address issues, mother says

Living in hotels and motels, Jessicah Pearce has to move with her two children about every 28 days.

Their last move took them three miles out of Osceola County, and in the middle of the school year, the district said her first- and sixth-grade children could no long attend their school.

“It’s very sad, because every morning they wake up, and they’re asking, you know, ‘Why aren’t we going to school?’” said Pearce.

In emails she received from the Osceola County School District, administrators told Pearce that she had to provide a signed lease before her children could re-enroll.

“He told me if I couldn’t provide that to him, he couldn’t help me,” said Pearce.

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There is a state law that is designed to keep kids in the school where they began the year, even if they’re living in a car, said Andrae Bailey, with the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness.

“The school system must act to protect that child and protect that education during that traumatic experience,” she said.

The district would not comment specifically on the removal of Pearce’s children from school, citing student confidentiality. Officials did say they were confident no law had been broken.

While the conflicting interpretations of the law are worked out, Pearce believes it is her children who are suffering.

“I just want my kids to go to school,” she said.