From “Battling Homelessness, Crime On The Path To Graduation” on WAMU 88.5′s Morning Edition:
Homelessness often insurmountable for high school students
Staying in school with an ever-changing address hasn’t been easy for Christopher. That’s because his mother had a hard time holding down a job and they frequently couldn’t pay the rent.
“For the most part, things stayed in containers, so all I had to do was store some trophies here, put some papers there, done,” he says. “My room is packed up perfectly ready to go.”
Christopher also had to ration food, and hide the fact that he couldn’t afford to do laundry more than once a month. [...]
School and other social support systems crucial
Children who are homeless are much more likely to drop out; one study shows that only 50 percent of children who are homeless for some period of high school will graduate. Christopher?s positive attitude has been tested. He has to travel farther and get to school earlier now to use the internet. Sometimes it gets to be too much.
WAMU also profiles Travaris, who is about to graduate from high school at 22 years old after spending 3 years in prison. But despite the financial and psychological challenges, he “comes to school on time every day and stays after class to complete assignments mentors other students.” He attends Luke C. Moore Academy, which offers a second chance to at-risk students, and Christopher is set to graduate from Hospitality High School and continue on to Michigan State. The obstacles for these students are markedly different — and the supports that they needed (and need) to overcome them are not strictly academic. So how can we ensure that students have the tools that they need to get to class and be free to learn, be that a mentor or clean clothes?