Crisis Data Management: A Forum Guide to Collecting and Managing Data About Displaced Students
NCES 2010-804
February 2010

Chapter 5. Data Challenges—When A "Displaced" Student Becomes a "Relocated" Student

One of the unanticipated questions arising after hurricanes Katrina and Rita related to what to do when a temporarily displaced student became a permanently relocated student. In other words, when is tracking a displaced student no longer necessary because the child had permanently relocated following the crisis? In preparation for this decisionmaking, a disaster recovery team should work with local or state authorities to determine how long the displaced student indicator will be used and how long it will remain attached to a studentís record. These are important questions given the stigma sometimes attached to being labeled "displaced" or "homeless," especially for a long time. The following issues should be addressed to effectively manage the use of a displaced student indicator:

  • At what point following a crisis does a temporarily displaced student become a permanently relocated student?
  • How many times (i.e., for how many different moves) can a displaced student flag be used?
  • What information is needed about students already enrolled in school who are forced into an alternative setting because of the influx of displaced students? Should they be flagged as displaced students?
  • Do funding or accountability needs require maintaining the displaced student data for a specific amount of time? If so, how long should the flag be included in student records once students are no longer displaced?