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Can A Runaway Attend School?

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  • #46
    i’m 15 and will be turning 16 on june 2 , i want to leave and be with my biological parents not adopted if i run away , how will i be able to attend a new school?

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    • ccsmod1
      ccsmod1 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hey there,

      Thanks so much for contacting us, it takes a lot of courage to reach out and share your story. It must be really hard to live in a home with so much tension. Running away is a big decision and it can be very stressful to figure out what you want to do.

      We aren’t legal experts here at NRS, but generally speaking, if you do opt to leave your home your legal guardians can file a runaway report, which is essentially a missing person report. Running away is a status offense; this means that it isn’t illegal, but it’s something you can’t do while still a minor. If a runaway report is filed and you are located by the authorities you will most likely be returned to your guardians.

      If you do opt to leave home or find yourself to be homeless you still have the right to your education under what’s called the McKinney-Vento Act. This act guarantees you the right to stay in your original school and be provided transportation to and from school (to the extent possible), enrollment in a school in your area, receive free school meals and to receive services like educational supports and basic needs. To find out more about how to take advantage of the McKinney-Vento act we suggest calling your school directly.

      If you’d like to go over what’s going on in depth, or if you’d like to explore other options that you may have available to you, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-RUNAWAY. You can also chat us by clicking on the “CHAT” button on top of our homepage. We’re open 24/7 and here to listen and support you in any way we can.

      All the best,
      NRS

  • #47
    hello, i am 17 i’m turning 18 in 6 more months and i’m wondering if i can run away from home and if i can still attend school when i do. can i also drop out at 18 if i have to have them register me for school

    Comment


    • ccsmod6
      ccsmod6 commented
      Editing a comment
      Hello and thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline. While we are not legal experts, we do have a great deal of experience working with runaways. It is our understanding that as long as you are considered a minor in your state (>18 in every state), then your parents are entitled to file a runaway report with the police if you leave home without their permission. It is not illegal to run away and you will not get into trouble with the police for doing so, but the police are usually allowed to notify your guardian and return you home if they encounter you while such a report exists.

      However, in some areas the police do not pursue runaway reports on 17 year olds because they are so close to the age of 18. We cannot guarantee that this will happen or even say there is a high chance that it will happen but it is a possibility. If you do choose to run away and the police come to where you are. It could be worth it to attempt to calmly and respectfully decline them consent to take you anywhere and inform them that you are in a safe place where you are. If it seems like the officers are going to physically force you to return home, it would probably be the safest option to comply with their requests, but in some cases we have heard of police not forcing the youth to return home.

      Depending on what state you are in, the age you are permitted to drop out of school is between 16 and 18, so your best bet in terms of finding out if you can drop out is looking up what your state’s rules are. As a runaway youth, your rights to an education are still protected by the McKinney Vento Act and you can still attend school. If you want to know more about enrolling in school as a runaway, please visit https://nche.ed.gov/.

      If you have any other questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call us on our 24/7 hotline 1-800-786-2929 or chat us at 1800runaway.org.

      Take care,
      NRS
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