'All Children Deserve The Same Education Regardless Of Their Situation'

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some parents on Long Island are upset about homeless children attending school in their district.

As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported Friday, some of the parents said they believe that adding 10 more homeless children to Forest Brook Elementary School in Hauppauge will add to class size and cut support services.

The children moved to a shelter in Hauppauge after the Southampton shelter they were living in with their families was shut down.

Joanne Babbino, who has a special needs daughter in the district, said everyone should be treated equally.

“All children deserve the same education regardless of their situation,” she told Hall.

Lawrence Crafa told CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes there are many who would like to see the students spread out over the district’s three elementary schools, rather than be pushed into one.

“It has nothing to do with them being homeless. It has to do with our children and their children getting their fair shake in the classroom, so they’re not overcrowded and they all learn equally,” Crafa said.

Crafa said the issue was a hot topic at a recent school board meeting.

The district superintendent issued a statement saying in part: “The placement of these students was made based upon enrollment in our elementary schools, as it relates to class size and the availability of support services for students.”

“They have to go to school someplace. There’s obviously a reason they placed them here and not the two other schools,” parent Joanne Carroll said.

Carroll said the extra students don’t bother her, but others like Crafa said they are worried about what this might mean for the future of class size at this school, should other families move in.

There will be a total of 24 homeless students across the district.

Babbino talked about the homeless high school student in Brentwood who became an Intel Science Award semifinalist.

“The person could be an amazing person. It’s just the family situation isn’t that great right now,” she told Hall.

Under federal law, homeless students are permitted to attend public school in the district they move to, or opt to stay at their school of origin. In that case, that school is required to cover transportation costs.

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