Brookline Kicked Out Homeless Kids, Mom Says

     BOSTON (CN) – A homeless mother has gone to federal court after the public school system in the tony Boston suburb of Brookline unenrolled her children for lack of residency.
     Abbreviating her and her children’s names, G.E. says her son is a sophomore at Brookline High School and her daughter is in the sixth grade at Devotion School.
     Though the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act ensures school stability for children “living in transient circumstances, according to the June 14 complaint, G.E. says Brookline ruled her children exempt from protection.
     The family has lived in Brookline since emigrating from Israel in 2010, according to the complaint, but a 2014 apartment eviction caused them to begin “living in transient conditions, including in their car, in an art studio and gallery, and occasionally in hotels and nightly rentals.”
     G.E. says Brookline formally disenrolled her children on April 20, 2016. The children then returned to Israel in May as per their father’s demands.
     Since returning to Israel and resuming school, the children have struggled to catch up will likely have to repeat their respective grades, according to the complaint.
     “Both children felt ashamed and anxious and embarrassed following their termination from the Brookline Public Schools when they were unable to say good bye or explain their disappearance from the community,” the complaint states. “After returning to Israel [the older sibling] was forced to explain she was ‘kicked out of school in America’ when questioned by family members, school teachers and friends as to her sudden and unscheduled reappearance.”
     Brookline Public Schools purportedly said the McKinney-Vento law does not apply here because G.E. had access to housing outside of the district.
     The complaint describes a letter in which representatives of Brookline Public Schools informed G.E. that they had determined that she owned two properties that would count as fixed, adequate housing outside the district, there by rendering her children ineligible to attend to school in Brookline.
     Brookline’s letter allegedly cited records from the city of Boston’s assessing department and the Bristol County registry of deeds that showed G.E. owns one condominium unit in Fall River and another the Brighton neighborhood of Boston.
     G.E. meanwhile says the only reason her name appeared on the property deeds was because she was helped relatives living in Israel purchase those homes as investments with tenants, barring her from using them as a home.
     Although her children are currently back in Israel, G.E. seeks a declaratory judgment allowing her children to return to school in Brookline.
     Brookline Public Schools has not returned a request for comment.
     G.E. is represented by Cynthia MacCausland.

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