FILE - The Pennsylvania Capitol is viewed Dec. 16, 2021, in Harrisburg, Pa. Lawmakers are trying to keep students in schools while officials and parents settle disputes about residency, through a measure that passed the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa.— Pennsylvania lawmakers on Monday advanced a measure to keep students in their schools while officials and parents work out disputes over whether they reside in a given district.

The proposal would prohibit school districts from withdrawing a student from school until a parent has exhausted all options to prove their residency, or has declined to dispute the district’s decision.

The unanimous vote in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives sent the bill to the state Senate for its consideration.

In Pennsylvania, parents and guardians must provide documents verifying where the student lives as part of enrollment. Under current law, a child can be removed if school officials believe the student is not a resident in their district, a decision parents can appeal.

But students can get caught in the crossfire, the bill’s primary sponsor Rep. Jeanne McNeill said. A student in her district went more than a month without instruction or special education support because of one such residency dispute, the Democrat from Lehigh County said.

“When residency disputes like this occur, it is through no fault of the child and they should not suffer because of the situation,” McNeill said Monday during floor debate.


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